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— 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
— Drones

Insect-inspired eye may allow drones to navigate their environment more naturally

Most modern aircraft, cruise missiles, spacecraft – in fact, almost all flying vehicles – use an accelerometer for flight stabilization. Living creatures that fly, on the other hand, rely on their own innate sense of balance determined by environmental observation and inbuilt organ-based systems. Now French researchers have designed a bio-inspired, sight-based system that could be used in conjunction with accelerometers to vastly increase the autonomous capabilities of drones by endowing them with more natural flying abilities. Read More
— Automotive

Porsche offering retrofit navigation system for classic cars

As cars become more sophisticated, drivers have been able to say farewell to many of the challenges that driving used to hold – from power steering to sat-nav, cars are making it easier than ever to get from A to B. Porsche has decided that owners of its classic cars deserve some of this high-tech help, and has designed a sat-nav system to fit into the dash of cars dating back to the 1960's. Read More
— Drones

Quick look: Parrot drones and 'phones, screens and greens

Though it was surrounded by an absolute ocean of cool technology at the greater Consumer Electronics Show, French electronics manufacturer Parrot managed to stand out with the diversity and breadth of its booth. It showcased the latest drones, aftermarket vehicle infotainment systems, wireless sport-tracking headphones, and even a smart flower pot. Step through the door and experience Parrot's latest, most innovative products for yourself. Read More
— Military

DARPA puts out call for super-agile UAVs

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are the eyes in the skies for soldiers and disaster relief crews, but despite over a century of aviation progress, they still leave a lot to be desired and close quarters are very difficult for them to navigate on their own. To make UAVs more practical in debris-strewn areas, DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program aims to develop algorithms that will allow autonomous fliers to negotiate obstacles as easily as a bird of prey. Read More
— Military

US Navy introducing system to help commanders plot the best course

One thing that is guaranteed to put a naval ship commander in front of a court martial is running aground. Unfortunately, despite all the advances in satellite technology and other aids, navigation is still as much an art as a science – and a very time-consuming one at that, with it taking days and sometimes weeks to chart out a mission. To free up captains and reduce their chances of having to answer awkward questions, the US Navy is introducing a new automated navigation planning system into its surface fleet that speeds up course planning and reduces the chance of human error. Read More
— Marine

Rolls-Royce sets sail for robotic shipping with virtual bridge concept

Rolls-Royce, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Aalto University are expanding on their ideas for a virtual bridge that could soon lead to a future where the line between manned and robotic ships becomes completely blurred. Combining automated ship systems and constant high-data level communications, it's part of what Rolls-Royce see as the "next major transition for the shipping industry." Read More