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Quadcopter

— Drones

DARPA's fully-loaded quadcopter autonomously navigates an indoor maze at 45 mph

DARPA recently flew a fully-laden quadcopter through an indoor obstacle course at 45 mph (32 km/h) as part of the agency's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. The test flight was conducted entirely under autonomous control with the goal of developing small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the ability to navigate through tight spaces without the need for outside control or GPS.

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— Drones

Which came first, the drone or the PowerEgg?

Conventional drones are often billed as portable, though they're also often a collection of rods, rotors, and other bits and pieces that are perfect for catching on things and getting tangled. To make taking drones into the backcountry a bit less onerous, Beijing-based Powervision Robot has taken the gubbins of a quadcopter and built them into a giant PowerEgg that folds up into one smooth package shaped like a cackleberry for transport.

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— Drones Review

Review: Axis Drones Vidius quadcopter is a tiny eye in the sky

The ever-expanding arena of drones and three-dimensional remote-controlled flight is fascinating and fun. And if you're looking to take your quadcopter game to the next level, first-person view (FPV) with a built-in camera is where it's at. But before you plunk down hard-earned cash for the big boys, you probably want to make sure you have a good handle of it all first. We spent some time behind the controls of an eye in the sky, with the latest quadcopter from Axis Drones, the Vidius.

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— Drones

Loon Copter drone flies, floats and dives underwater

Along with the usual flying drones, there are also models that can move along the surface of the water like boats, that can explore underwater like submarines, or that can even both fly and float. As is the case with its feathered namesake, however, Oakland University's Loon Copter can fly, land on the water to see what's under the surface, and then dive down to check out what it sees.

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— Drones

FAROS drone climbs the walls to find fires

Fires in high-rises can be particularly deadly. This is partially because of the buildings' "chimney" effect, along with the fact that it's just plain difficult for firefighters to reach the flames. With that in mind, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have created the flying, wall-climbing, fire-resistant FAROS quadcopter. It's designed to ascertain the source of a fire as soon as possible, along with the locations of people trapped within the building.

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— Drones

Walkera's methanol-fuelled range extender keeps a QR X900 hexacopter in the air for more than an hour

Hexacopter flight times over an hour should soon become possible. Chinese drone manufacturer Walkera has decided to go beyond the battery, teaming up with micro-generator producers at GenSmart to build a new hybrid powertrain for its QR X900 professional heavy lifter. A tiny, efficient methanol motor charges the battery during flight, allowing long flight times and instant refueling and it can be switched off so the drone can operate in "stealth mode" when necessary.

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— Drones

Drone School 1: Choosing a beginner quadcopter

Multicopters are one of the hottest consumer gadgets on the market, and for good reason. They're cheap, easy to fly, a ton of fun, and by far the easiest way to get into radio controlled flying. This Drone School series is our way to help new flyers get off the ground, and over the next few weeks we'll get into some exercises to build your skills and capabilities for maximum fun with minimal crashes. For starters, let's look at how to pick a good first quadcopter.

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