Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

UAV

2014 saw the emergence of some truly innovative drone projects

2014 wasn’t the year that drones first entered the consumer lexicon, but it did see the notion of using these unmanned vehicles to our advantage become much more palatable. Package deliveries and carrying out conventional robotic tasks are some concepts that have defined the progress of drones in the past 12 months, but, as is typical of emerging technologies, the more their potential is realized the more they find uses in unexpected new applications. Let’s have a look over some of the year’s more surprising, yet significant, drone projects that promise to shake things up in exciting new ways.  Read More

The HexH2o can land on the water and shoot below the surface

Readers who checked out our recent article on the Seahorse human-powered airboat may have noticed something at least as impressive in the accompanying video – a camera-equipped quadcopter that can land on the water to shoot underwater footage. It's called the QuadH2o, and is made by a Thailand-based company of the same name. Now, that drone is about to be joined by a companion that sports another two propellers, along with some other extra features. It's time to say hello to the HexH2o.  Read More

DARPA is seeking a UAV that can operate in debris-strewn close quarters (Image: DARPA)

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

The X PlusOne functions as both a hovering quadcopter and a forward-flying fixed-wing airc...

Both Google and Belgium's Katholieke Universiteit Leuven are working on drone-based delivery projects that utilize UAVs which take off and land vertically, but that can also tip sideways to transition into fast and efficient fixed-wing flight. If you're thinking that it would be neat to purchase a consumer drone that could do the same thing – combining the hovering capability of a quadcopter with the speed of a "flying wing"-type plane – a new one may soon be available, in the form of the X PlusOne.  Read More

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted exemptions to four US companies to use UAV...

In another small, but promising step toward the adoption of commercial drones in the US, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted exemptions to four companies that clear their unmanned aircraft systems for takeoff.  Read More

Adorama's camera-packin' Aries Blackbird X10

One of the world's largest photographic retailers is now getting into the camera-equipped drone market, with Adorama announcing its Aries Blackbird X10 quadcopter. Among other things, the little copter shoots 1080p/30fps video, captures 16-megapixel stills, and has a flight time of 25 minutes per charge of its 5,300-mAh lithium-polymer battery.  Read More

The gantry-mounted prototype device is moved over a pool, to simulate being flown over the...

When an organization sets out to map the sea floor, it will typically use a device known as a bathymetric lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. These are large and can weigh almost 600 lb (272 kg), so they're mounted on crewed aircraft that fly over the area to be mapped. Led by Dr. Grady Tuell, a team at Georgia Tech has now developed a cost-effective new system that they claim could lead to much smaller, more efficient bathymetric lidars, capable of being carried by a UAV.  Read More

The Zano drone might be palm-sized, but it packs impressive functionality

"Dronies" are a still relatively new phenomenon, but a growing number of early movers are rooting their products in the art of airborne self-portraiture. Zano, from the Wales-based Torquing Group, is a palm-sized drone with an emphasis on portability, designed to be on-hand whenever you need to capture special moments from above.  Read More

ARCA has released two AirStrato drone models that it says deliver military-level performan...

The growth in the availability of drones over the last few years has been explosive. In tracking the trend, Gizmag has covered everything from pocket-sized consumer quadcopters to Predator military models. A Romanian NGO, however, is promising that its new drone will fill an untouched gap in the market.  Read More

The Skynet concept offers a solution to the problems posed by drone delivery

With drone technology progressing so quickly, it may not be too long before they start dropping packages at our doorsteps. But proposals for how the vehicles can safely navigate fences, pets and small children haven't been entirely convincing so far. A pair of Australians believe they have the answer, with a system that sees drones zero in to drop deliveries into a purpose-built net, guided by LEDs to ensure centimeter-perfect accuracy.  Read More

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