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Surveillance

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
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
DARPA has floated a fascinating new unmanned systems project that would see undersea motherships launching smaller submarines and flying vehicles to conduct pop-up surveillance on pirates, terrorists and hijackers. The Hydra Project, named after the Greek legend of the multi-headed snake that grew two new heads whenever one was cut off, looks to provide low cost response to quickly changing situations on or near the water. Read More
We first reported on Renew's recycling bins with integrated display screens back in February, 2012. Though at the time these were spun as benevolent information-imparting godsends, as Gizmag readers noted it was always on the cards that they would be used for advertising – reportedly 95 percent of the time, it turns out. However, in recent days it has emerged that Renew has kitted out 12 of its bins with technology that allows it to detect the smartphones of passers by, and potentially target ads accordingly. Today the City of London asked Renew to stop using the tracking technology. Read More
For the past 23 years, the International Aerial Robotics Competition has challenged college teams with missions requiring complex autonomous robotic behaviors that are often beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated military robots. This year's competition, which was held in China and the United States over the past week, saw the team from Tsinghua University in Beijing successfully complete the current mission – an elaborate espionage operation known as Mission Six that was first proposed in 2010. Read More
The cyber security convention DefCon and its corporate counterpart, Black Hat, that are held annually in Las Vegas present a unique tableau where the traditional (and traditionally overstated) conflict between underground hacking culture and corporate and government security professionals is suspended with the goal of openness and education. If you enjoy and own technology and gadgets of any kind, the conferences highlight a looming security crossroads that affects every layperson. Gizmag takes a look at some of the more important hacks from this year. Read More
Despite being constantly in the news, UAVs haven’t been seen much in the skies of the US except in military training areas or by law enforcement agencies. That’s beginning to change, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcing that is has issued operating permits for a pair of civilian unmanned aircraft to a company based in Alaska. The two unmanned aircraft are the AeroVironment Puma, which is a hand-launched, battery powered UAV that uses an electro-optical and infrared video camera for surveillance, and the other is the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle; a small, long-endurance craft based on a fish-spotting design. Read More
Ford has found a new use for some of the vehicle sensor systems that help drivers monitor traffic. A new surveillance mode developed in collaboration with California-based Intermotive Inc. uses these sensor systems to give police officers "eyes on the back of their heads," making them aware of any potential dangers behind their vehicles. Read More

Deer Trail, Colorado (population 600 or so) is to vote on a local ordinance that would allow drone hunting licenses and bounties for shooting down UAVs, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV. Read More

In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Read More
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