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Drone

A number of patent applications suggest Disney is looking to use UAVs in its theme park sh...

The weird and wonderful world of Disney may be about to get a little more weird and wonderful, depending on how you feel about drones. The Walt Disney Company has filed three patents suggesting it may intend to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to control giant marionettes, replace fireworks and suspend floating displays in its future theme park shows.  Read More

Project Wing is a Google X project aimed at developing self-flying delivery vehicles

Google has taken the lid off a previously secret project that is being run out of its semi-secret Google X research arm. Project Wing is focusing on the development of "a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles." In other words, unmanned drones intended to autonomously deliver packages where and when they're needed.  Read More

A new algorithm developed at MIT enables delivery drones to better preserve their health i...

The prospect of delivery drones brings with it a few notable issues. Beyond visions of colliding rotor blades and unsolicited package drops lies another problem: the huge amount of computational power needed to take into account real world uncertainties, such as strong winds, limited battery life and navigational errors, in order to provide a reliable delivery service. This has been the focus of new study from MIT, with a team of researchers devising a new algorithm said to massively reduce the level of computation required, enabling the drone to monitor its "health" in real time.  Read More

Researchers have successfully paired a drone with a unmanned ground vehicle, enabling it t...

While continual improvements are allowing larger UAVs to stay in the air for longer, the lifting capacity and endurance of smaller UAVs is largely constrained by the weight and size of their batteries. In a move that could greatly expand the reach and applications of small UAVs, a team of robotics researchers propose pairing a UAV with a ground vehicle that would provide a place of respite. However, such a vision requires autonomous coordinated docking between the two vehicles, which is exactly what the team has achieved.  Read More

UAVs could someday be used to prevent bridge collapses, such as this one in Minneapolis  (...

When bridges are inspected for cracks and other defects that could lead to their collapse, engineers must either hang beneath those bridges on lines, or view them from elevated platforms. Whichever approach is used, a lot of setup is involved, and defects may get missed. In the future, however, unmanned aircraft may be able to more quickly and thoroughly check out bridges, working with wireless sensors built into the structures.  Read More

The VertiKUL drone in hovering mode

When something is sent to you by airmail, it travels in a fast and relatively fuel-efficient fixed-wing aircraft, not a fuel-guzzling helicopter. Nonetheless, when we hear about the possibility of drones being used to deliver items within cities, multirotor-style aircraft are almost always what's proposed – while they're good at maneuvering in urban spaces, they're essentially just little unmanned helicopters. With that in mind, a group of three engineering students from Belgium's KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) have created a prototype delivery drone known as VertiKUL, which combines the best features of both types of aircraft.  Read More

The Wi-Fi range-extending drone developed by UNT researchers

Researchers from the University of North Texas (UNT) have demonstrated an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of supplying Wi-Fi to disaster-struck areas with a range of up to 5 km (3.1 miles). The team says these figures represent a marked improvement on existing solutions and could lead to new forms of wireless communication.  Read More

Cargo UAS promises to provide large lift capabilities in a small UAV

With the number of multi-rotor drone concepts competing for a narrow market share, you really need a unique selling point if you want to get your project off the ground. In the case of the developers of the Cargo Unmanned Air System (UAS), their point of difference is to claim a massive 60 kg (132 lb) lift capacity for their proof of concept, with the promise of an eventual production unmanned aerial vehicle that can carry payloads of up to 400 kg (880 lb) with automated "sense and avoid" capability.  Read More

Belize has begun using drones to monitor its coastline for illegal fishing operations

Unsustainable fishing in Belize has placed growing pressure on local anglers and the country's celebrated coral reef systems. Decades of decline has led to the introduction of catch limits and even the European Union blacklisting seafood imports from Belize for a perceived lack of action against illegal fishing. In an effort to better regulate the industry, the Belize Fisheries Department has begun using drones to monitor coastal areas for unlicensed and unlawful activity.  Read More

Malloy Aeronautic's latest Hoverbike prototype makes use of a quad rotor design

Having revealed its original Hoverbike design back in 2011, Malloy Aeronautics has been hard at work developing its ambitious, science fiction inspired vehicle. The team has made some significant changes in the last few years, moving from a dual rotor to quad rotor design while adding some serious stability credentials in the process. Chris Malloy has now launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter where backers are being offered a working 1/3rd scale version of the second generation Hoverbike, while giving the team a helping hand in the development of the eventual, manned vehicle.  Read More

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