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— Aircraft

Boeing demonstrates swarm technology

By - August 22, 2011 1 Picture
Individually, insects have proven a deep well of inspiration for robotics engineers looking to mimic designs refined over millions of years of evolution. Now Boeing has demonstrated swarm technology for reconnaissance missions using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that is similar to the way insects communicate and work together as an intelligent group. Potential uses for the technology include search-and-rescue missions and identifying enemy threats ahead of ground patrols. Read More
— Aircraft

'Best of both worlds' MAV combines flapping and gliding flight

By - July 6, 2011 6 Pictures
As I look out of my office window and watch the heart-stopping acrobatics of feeding swifts, it's not difficult to see why so many aircraft designers find inspiration in nature - from birds to bats to insects. Now it's the turn of the swift. Hoping to demonstrate the endurance and performance benefits of a combined flapping and gliding approach to Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) design, researchers have developed an experimental flyer capable of combining both unsteady and steady aerodynamics. Read More
— Science

Scientists look to create small-scale flapping-winged flying machines

By - November 30, 2010 2 Pictures
Imagine insect-like aircraft capable of military or civilian surveillance missions, impossible for current fixed-wing or rotary-wing vehicles – tiny flying machines able to access buildings reduced to rubble by earthquakes, or act as a fly-on-the-wall in the meeting rooms of enemy leaders. Such aircraft may be one step closer to realization, thanks to a breakthrough in our understanding of how flapping wings work. Read More
— Robotics

Man-made bee's eye could mean big things for flying robots

By - August 6, 2010 2 Pictures
Day after day, honeybees are able to travel back and forth between a food source and their hive, even in a constantly-changing environment. Given that the insects have relatively small brains, scientists have determined that they rely chiefly on vision and hard-wired visual processing abilities to achieve such a feat. To better understand that process, scientists from the Cognitive Interaction Technology Center of Excellence at Bielefeld University, Germany, have created an artificial honeybee’s eye. Using the device, they hope to unlock the secrets of the insects’ sensing, processing and navigational skills, and apply them to human technology such as micro air vehicles (MAVs). Read More
— Robotics

Insect-inspired device lets micro air vehicles perch on vertical surfaces

By - June 29, 2010 4 Pictures
A young robotics engineer has developed a perching mechanism that could be invaluable to the field of Micro Air Vehicles, or MAVs. Mirko Kovac, of Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), envisions a system wherein swarms of tiny robotic gliders would be deployed over scenes of disasters, such as forest fires or earthquakes. The gliders would fly straight into the sides of vantage points, such as tall buildings or trees, whereupon they would perch on that surface and transmit data to remote observers via cameras or other sensors. They could even free themselves, to fly on to another location. Read More
— Aircraft

World's smallest camera carrying Micro Aerial Vehicle takes flight

By - July 28, 2008 3 Pictures
July 28, 2008 How often have you thought, “I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that room”. Well, a team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is hard at work trying to make that desire a reality by developing a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), which they claim is the smallest flying, camera carrying ornithopter in the world. The DelFly Micro weighs just 3 grams and measures 10 cm from wing tip to wing tip. It has a range of 50 meters and is powered by a 30 mAh lithium polymer battery, which provides enough power for three minutes of fight time. To keep the weight of the unit down the wings are made from Mylar foil, while the body and frame is made up from carbon and balsawood. Read More
— Aircraft

AeroVironment to continue Nano Air Vehicle development

By - May 28, 2008 1 Picture
May 29, 2008 Unmanned aerial vehicles represent one emerging technology that has delivered as promised over the last decade, achieving critical relevance in battlefields situations where they can perform both reconnaissance and combat roles without putting humans in the the line of fire. In addition to the rapid growth and development that has occurred in relation to larger, weapons capable craft, smaller systems have also proved their worth, and the latest announcement from AeroVironment (AV) is further evidence that this sector will continue to flourish. The company which has already established unmanned micro air vehicle (MAV) programs - including the Raven and Wasp III - has now received funding to continue development of an even smaller scale platform dubbed the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV). Read More

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