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UAV

The 3D-printing robotic quadcopter hovers over its target (Photo: Aerial Robotics Lab)

The swiftlet may not look much different than other little birds, but it has one unique ability – it builds its nest out of its own saliva. Inspired by the swiftlet, scientists at Imperial College London's Aerial Robotics Lab have created a robotic quadcopter that can extrude polyurethane foam while in flight. By targeting where that foam goes, it can build up simple structures, essentially becoming a flying 3D printer. The technology could have some very important applications.  Read More

The X-47B, shown here on its first night flight in April, is set to begin its next round o...

The US Navy is preparing to conduct a series of test activities with the aim of nailing down air standard operating procedures for air traffic control and ground support designed to allow the X-47B unmanned aircraft to operate alongside manned aircraft, both in the air and on the deck of a flight carrier.  Read More

The Arcturus Jump system is designed to give UAVs VTOL capability without the weight penal...

Fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have a lot of advantages over manned aircraft, but much of that is lost when they get too big to be launched by hand and start needing runways and catapults to get aloft. Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems seem like an obvious alternative, but the extra weight of these systems can limit the advantages they offer. Arcturus UAV in Northern California unveiled its solution this week with its Jump VTOL system. Using self-contained electric lift motors, this add-on system is designed to provide tactical UAVs with VTOL capabilities without the usual penalties of payload and range.  Read More

The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator program aims at developing aircraft ...

While autonomous aircraft are now a well established part of military operations, there are some areas where “pilot optional” is still very much synonymous with “cutting edge.” Case in point is Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In cooperation with the US Army, Sikorsky demonstrated the helicopter's capabilities for the first time in an autonomous cargo delivery exercise on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center.  Read More

The formation flight lasted almost two hours

Dassault Aviation announced that last month it came a step closer to making science fiction reality when it conducted a formation flight of the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet. The flight off the coast of the south of France took place on March 20, and for almost two hours the nEUROn kept station with the other planes as they flew over the several hundred kilometers out over the Mediterranean. According to Dassault, this was the first time an unmanned combat aircraft achieved formation flight.  Read More

The X-47B on its first night flight carried out at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on Apr...

After taking to the air for the first time in early 2011, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System has been ticking off a series of firsts, including being the first unmanned aircraft to launch and recovery from a modern aircraft carrier. Another box has now been ticked with the aircraft completing its first night flights.  Read More

DARPA plans to re-purpose RQ-7 Shadow UAVs to provide even the most remote US forces with ...

The Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to extend connectivity for forward military units with the use of small Wi-Fi-hosting drones. The aim of the Mobile Hotspots project is to provide a reliable, mobile source of bandwidth to all echelons of the military on a scale unthinkable using current methods.  Read More

The newly-announced Phantom 2 Vision+

Last November, DJI Innovations released its Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Unlike the base Phantom copter, this one featured its own motorized HD video camera that could be remotely tilted by the user. Now, DJI has announced the Phantom 2 Vision+. Its camera has a three-axis electronic stabilizer, which keeps the shot steady regardless of changes in pitch, roll or yaw.  Read More

Dr Reece Clothier with a prototype of a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft, under development ...

Most people who have cast their eyes skyward – or seen a nature documentary or two – will have seen lazily circling birds soaring to greater heights without flapping their wings. These soaring birds are catching a ride on rising air currents to save energy, and now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, are aiming to develop bio-inspired UAVs capable of doing the same thing.  Read More

A front view of the 3d-printed UAV airframe

Because 3D printing allows one-off items to be created quickly and cheaply, it should come as no surprise that the technology has already been used to produce unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Engineers at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), however, have taken things a step farther. They've made a 3D-printed UAV airframe that's designed to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction, and that can be printed and in the air within a single day.  Read More

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