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UAV

A ScanEagle in service with the US Army (Image: Boeing)

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

The complete Aeromapper X5 package

While we’re seeing an increasing amount of aerial mapping being performed by purpose-built drone aircraft, a lot of people are no doubt still leery of remotely-piloting what is essentially a little airplane. With such people in mind, Canada’s Aeromao has recently released its Aeromapper X5. The drone is launched by hand, flies and takes photos autonomously, then parachutes back down to the ground.  Read More

A test run of the Oculus Rift FPV

Ever since the first developer kits for the Oculus Rift began shipping, a number of creative types have been combining the VR goggles with other devices to form entirely new experiences. While most of these have done a good job of immersing users in virtual environments, the latest project from Intuitive Aerial could provide a unique perspective on the real world. The project, called Oculus Rift FPV, allows a pilot to control a UAV while wearing the VR headset, giving them a 360-degree, bird's-eye view without ever leaving the ground.  Read More

The first prototype

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a remarkable drone aircraft that can also walk on land using only its wings for locomotion. Named DALER, a backronym standing for Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot, the robot is named after creator Ludovic Daler of the EPFL's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems.  Read More

The Polyplane and the Samara are disposable UAVs designed to help monitor forest fires (Ph...

The term "UAV" generally leads us to think about expensive, high-tech military drones like General Atomics' Predator, but a Robotics team led by Dr. Paul Pounds at Australia's University of Queensland has created a pair of UAVs that are so cheap and easy to manufacture that they'll literally be disposable, single use items. One's basically a high-tech paper plane, while the other follows the form factor of a maple seed with both designed to help save lives in the event of a forest fire.  Read More

The X-47B making the first UAV arrested carrier landing

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator put another page in the history books on Wednesday with its first unmanned arrested-wire carrier landing. The drone flew 35 minutes from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia, where is landed at about 145 knots (167 mph, 268 km/h) with an arresting wire catching its tail hook and bringing it to a stop in 350 ft (107 m).  Read More

Jasper van Loenen's Drone It Yourself turns everyday objects into flying quadrotor UAVs (V...

If, like me, you've always felt that your books, record collection and years' of otherwise accumulated matter was lacking flight capability, you might be interested in Jasper van Loenen's Drone It Yourself project which turns more or less anything into a quadrotor drone with addition of a few motors and a control unit.  Read More

The modified Jetstream that flew 500 miles (800 km) under ground supervision (Photo: BAE S...

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

The quadcopter itself fit nicely in the palm of my hand, measuring just 14.5 x 14.3 cm

As the largest distributor of radio-controlled models in the US, Hobbico has produced its fair share of innovative, small-sized vehicles over the past few decades. So when we learned the company recently released a new quadcopter that features a self-stabilization system and on-board camera, we were only too happy to take it for a spin. After spending some time with the Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam quadcopter, we've gained both a new-found respect for aerial photographers, as well as a new toy that's eaten up hours of free time.  Read More

The Yamaha RMax helicopter used in the UC Davis tests

Researchers at University of California are testing UAV crop dusting on the Oakville Experimental Vineyard at the UC Oakville Station using a Yamaha RMax remote-controlled helicopter. The purpose is to study the adaptation of Japanese UAV crop dusting techniques for US agriculture, but not all the hurdles they face are technological.  Read More

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