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UAV

Thanks to an app update, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision and Vision+ are now able to follow pre-p...

You could almost say that the DJI Phantom is to consumer drones what the GoPro Hero is to actioncams – not the first or the cheapest, but certainly among the best-known. One thing that the Phantom has lacked in comparison to some of its competitors, however, is the ability to fly on its own. Well, it's now able to do that too, thanks to the addition of the Ground Station feature to its existing camera app.  Read More

In this lab setup, the glider is able to locate and perch in front of a power line

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently being considered for many applications, although one factor that a lot of people tend to gloss over is the aircrafts' limited battery range – being able to stay airborne for only 10 to 30 minutes at a time definitely limits their usefulness. Researchers at MIT, however, are developing a possible solution. They're working on a fixed-wing UAV that can perch on power lines and use their emitted magnetic fields to recharge its battery, before continuing on its way.  Read More

The HEXO+ drone autonomously tracks its user

If you watch almost any video promoting a consumer drone, chances are you'll see the aircraft flying along above a moving motorbike rider, snowboarder or other fast-moving athlete. It makes for some impressive aerial footage of the person, but also requires a fair bit of piloting skill. Additionally, if you buy one of those drones, you'll end up shooting other people doing those things – what if you want footage of yourself? Well, that's where the HEXO+ hexacopter comes in. It autonomously flies above its user, shooting video of them as they do their thing.  Read More

The Skyteboard drone is designed to integrate with the Fatdoor social network to bring com...

When we have unmanned aerial vehicles zipping about delivering school textbooks and burritos, drones that bring neighborhoods closer together doesn't sound like the most radical idea. But combining them with a social network could have impacts beyond enabling more efficient shipping services, at least in the eyes of software and robotics company Fatdoor. This week it launched a crowdfunding campaign for Skyteboard, an internet-connected quadcopter designed to take community spirit to the next level.  Read More

BP has been authorized to fly a Puma AE UAV similar to this one, used by the US Marine Cor...

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has waived the usual restrictions on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and is allowing the BP oil company and UAS manufacturer AeroVironment to use an AeroVironment Puma AE for aerial surveys in Alaska. According to the FAA, this is the first time permission has been given for a commercial drone to fly over land in the United States.  Read More

The HorseFly octocopter could charge its battery and pick up packages from a mobile delive...

When Amazon announced its plan to use drones for home deliveries, a lot of people were quick to point out the huge logistical challenges involved. Among those is the fact that a multicopter's limited battery range would make it rather difficult for just one or two Amazon warehouses to serve an entire city. A team from the University of Cincinnati and AMP Electric Vehicles, however, may have a solution. They've created an octocopter that could make short flights from a traveling delivery van, using that van as a mobile charging station and package depot.  Read More

Parrot's upcoming Bebop Drone

Fans of Parrot's AR.Drone quadcopter have been anticipating the arrival of the AR.Drone 3.0 for the past couple of years, but it now looks like the next major addition to the French company's fleet is going to take the form of a little something known as the Bebop Drone. Among its improvements over the AR.Drone 2.0 are a better camera, longer range, and an optional joystick-based controller.  Read More

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

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