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Reconnaissance

DARPA's ARES consists of a VTOL flight module capable of carrying several different types ...

Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

The SPARCS round round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized r...

Imagine a scenario where an earthquake brings down an industrial complex, trapping the survivors inside and as the disaster response team arrives, they unpack a grenade launcher and start lobbing rounds into the air. This may seem like madness, but there’s method in it. In this hypothetical case, the grenades are part of the Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System (SPARCS) built by Singapore-based ST Engineering. Instead of a warhead, each 40 mm grenade round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized receiver; turning disaster teams, police, and foot soldiers into recon units.  Read More

The Pentagon looks at the next 25 years of military robots

Last month, the US Pentagon pulled out its crystal ball and released a report that presents a blueprint of what it sees as the future of military robots over the next quarter of a century. It projects likely developments in new unmanned technologies against a background of shrinking budgets and shifting strategic policies, and how the dramatic development and expansion of military unmanned systems requires large-scale consolidation and development to exploit the technology’s full potential.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at the top five drone stories of 2013

Although aerial drones been around in one form or another since World War I, it hasn’t really been until the last decade that they’ve really taken off, so to speak. Where they were once restricted to a spot of battlefield reconnaissance, in addition to military applications, drones are now used for everything from agriculture to oil prospecting and by everyone from rescue workers to real estate agents. Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)

There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More

Artist's concept of the SR-72 (Image: Lockheed Martin)

When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has now revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72. Using a new hypersonic engine design that combines turbines and ramjets, the company says that the unmanned SR-72 will be twice as fast as its predecessor with a cruising speed of Mach 6.  Read More

This UAV competes in Eurathlon, a mock disaster-response competition for robots

Roboticists are competing in Europe this week to prove their superiority at bomb disposal and other dangerous tasks, but the teams are not comprised of military or emergency response personnel. Instead, unmanned autonomous vehicles and their human operators have gathered in Berchtesgaden, Germany at the first ever Eurathlon, a competition and convention designed to push innovation in smart robots that perform tasks that are too risky for humans.  Read More

Squito is a throwable ball camera prototype enabling panoramic views to be captured every ...

It's already possible to take aerial shots using your smartphone, but doing so means throwing your expensive piece of kit into the air and hoping you're a good catch. What's really needed is a standalone device that can be launched skywards to capture panoramic views. Enter Squito, a prototype throwable camera ball capable of producing stabilized 360-degree images and video that could prove useful in several different fields.  Read More

The Triton making its first flight (Photo: US Navy)

It’s been a busy month for UAVs with some launching from aircraft carriers and others saving lives. Now, the US Navy’s latest unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System, has taken to the skies. This Wednesday, the 47.6-foot (14.5-m) aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, took off from Palmdale, California. It was under the control of Navy and Northrop Grumman personnel, as part of a series of tests to certify the system for fleet operations.  Read More

Researchers have been able to non-invasively control the walking paths of red-eared slider...

Last year, much to the delight of squeamish people everywhere, scientists were successfully able to remotely control the paths traveled by live cockroaches. They did so by wirelessly stimulating the insects’ antennae and cerci sensory organs. Now, a group of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have reported success in controlling the paths of walking turtles. Fortunately for the reptiles, the KAIST researchers’ methods were considerably less invasive than those used on the cockroaches.  Read More

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