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— Space

First asteroid-tracking satellite will be Canadian

In the wake of the meteor blast over Russia and the close quarter fly by of asteroid 2012 DA14 last week, many people's thoughts have turned to potential dangers from above. It is timely then that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will next week launch NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), the world’s first space telescope for detecting and tracking asteroids, satellites and space debris. Read More
— Military

DARPA's new 1.8-gigapixel camera is a super high-resolution eye in the sky

DARPA recently revealed information on its ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System), a surveillance camera that uses hundreds of smartphone image sensors to record a 1.8 gigapixel image. Designed for use in an unmanned drone (probably an MQ-1 Predator), from an altitude of 20,000 ft (6,100 m) ARGUS can keep a real-time video eye on an area 4.5 miles (7.2 km) across down to a resolution of about six inches (15 cm). Read More
— Aircraft

Boeing’s hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye taxis closer to second flight

Following the first flight of its Phantom Eye in June of last year, Boeing has performed software and hardware upgrades in preparation for its second flight that will see it climb to higher altitudes. This week, the hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft system made a significant step towards such a second flight with the completion of taxi testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Read More
— Drones

Handheld Black Hornet Nano drones issued to U.K. soldiers

Drones have become a valuable asset for any military force in recent years for both combat and surveillance. But while scanning a warzone from miles away is great from a tactical standpoint, unmanned aircraft can be just as useful in the hands of troops on the ground. That's why British soldiers in Afghanistan have been issued several Black Hornet Nanos, a palm-sized UAV that can scout around corners and obstacles for hidden dangers. Read More
— Robotics

BIOSwimmer robot mimics the humble tuna fish

Scientists involved in robotics research are increasingly looking toward biological systems for solutions to specific challenges, and when one considers that nature has been solving problems for rather a lot longer than we humans have, this makes sense. Such is the reasoning behind BIOSwimmer: an underwater surveillance robot created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S and T) that takes its design cues from the tuna fish. Read More
— Drones

Solar-powered Silent Falcon UAV unveiled

UAVs have become increasingly common in everything from carrying out missile strikes against terrorists to helping map archaeological sites. They come in all sizes from jet-powered behemoths to ones so small that they can sit in your hand. On Monday, Silent Falcon UAS Technologies of Alburquerque, New Mexico rolled out the latest in the small UAV class with the unveiling of its solar-powered Silent Falcon at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference in Las Vegas. Read More
— Drones

Spy Hawk RC-plane lets you snoop from the skies

If you’ve ever found yourself bemoaning the relative dearth of viable personal UAV (or "drone") options but still find the idea of an eye in the sky alluring, then you may well be in luck, because UK-based gadget purveyor RED5 has unveiled the Spy Hawk: a remote-controlled plane which runs from a rechargeable battery and features a video camera to facilitate easy snooping from up above. Read More