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Autonomous

Drones

Ares drone frees users up from that pesky "drone-piloting" thing

Many people have likely watched aerial video shot by drones, and dreamed of getting such footage with a drone of their own. What they might not realize, however, is that controlling the little UAVs can be difficult, particularly if the user is trying to both fly the drone and keep a subject centered in the frame. That's why a group of entrepreneurs are creating the pre-programmable Ares quadcopter. Read More

Automotive

Ford's new technology chief ponders the future of driving and mobility

Global trends appear to be moving towards a future where in many markets, car ownership may look like an expensive, impractical and inconvenient way to get around. So what's the next model of personal transport, and where do the big automakers fit in? Ford's new global VP of Research and Advanced Engineering, Ken Washington, sat down in Melbourne for a "crystal ball" discussion about autonomous cars, on-demand vehicles, car sharing, smart parking, multi-mode transport, and how a car company might learn to cater to a new generation of customers that are far more interested in upgrading their phones than getting their driver's licenses.Read More

Robotics

Festo unveils robotic ants, butterflies and chameleon tongue gripper

Designing a robot that can convincingly move like a member of the animal kingdom is a much more difficult prospect than merely building something that has the outward appearance of one. Some of the best examples of both have come from the engineers at Festo, including a herring gull named SmartBird and a bit of a bounder known as the BionicKangaroo. As a taste of things to come at next month's Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, the company has now revealed three more biomimetic creations: a small colony of ants, a gripper modeled on a chameleon's tongue and some fine flyers in the shape of some big blue butterflies.Read More

Space

Precision planetary lander technology tested by NASA

In anticipation of more ambitious planetary missions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, in collaboration with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, has recently been testing new landing technologies using an Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed (ADAPT). Aimed at developing new systems for landing on Mars and other planets with much greater precision, a new imaging landing system and algorithm were tested using the demonstration vehicle on two successful flights.Read More

Space

Unmanned version of Dream Chaser spaceplane unveiled

Though the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spaceplane was kicked out of the running to ferry crew to the ISS, a variation on the craft may still end up visiting the station. As part of its bid to win NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, SNC has unveiled an unmanned autonomous version of Dream Chaser to carry cargo into orbit.Read More

Automotive

Tesla Model S to go semi-autonomous; Musk foresees a future where human driving is illegal

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has a complicated outlook when it comes to the future of "smart" machines. He's warned about the dangers of strong artificial intelligence, but he's all-in on the lesser forms of artificial smarts, like those at the core of Teslas. He's also bullish on self-driving cars, and this week Musk went so far as to declare that they may completely replace the cars we drive today. Read More

Drones

eBumper4 sonar system can be retrofitted to popular drones to avoid collisions

It may not be as glamorous as building vehicles that go faster, fly higher or shoot more beautiful images, but making drones less likely to crash into walls and people's faces is pretty critical to advancing the technology all the same. One company working on this problem is the team at Panoptes, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for eBumper4, an obstacle avoidance system that can be slapped on two of the more popular consumer drones to stop them running into things. Read More

Drones Review

Review: Phantom 2 Vision+ – the world's best selling camera drone

DJI's US$1100 Phantom 2 Vision+ is the best selling camera drone on the market – and with good reason. It's a relatively affordable, relatively friendly and relatively easy to fly quadcopter that arrives nearly fully assembled and is easy enough for a beginner to operate straight out of the box, even if we recommend you fly something cheaper first to get the hang of things. It has a decent quality, tilt-controllable camera that shoots 1080p HD video footage and 14 megapixel photos, and the camera delivers smooth footage thanks to a multi-axis stabilizing gimbal. But it has a bunch of other tricks up its sleeve. Gizmag spends a few weeks with the latest 2015 version of the #1 consumer camera drone.Read More

Audi puts autonomous parking robots to work in the factory

As we all know, having lots of cars littering your workplace can be a hazard and a barrier to productivity. Conscious of this, Audi has enlisted some robots to tidy all their spare cars out of the way until they're needed. What's more, the "Ray" robots get on with it without bothering anyone.Read More

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