Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

UAV

The Phantom FC40 is one of two quadcopters recently introduced by DJI

Last year right around this time, DJI Innovations released its original Phantom quadcopter. The fact that the aircraft was designed to carry a GoPro camera made it quite popular. Then in November, the company started selling the Phantom 2 Vision model, which features its own built-in Wi-Fi-controlled HD camera. It's pretty awesome, but at US$1,199 it's priced $720 more than the base Phantom. Now, DJI has introduced two new models that occupy the middle ground between those two price points.  Read More

The Pentagon looks at the next 25 years of military robots

Last month, the US Pentagon pulled out its crystal ball and released a report that presents a blueprint of what it sees as the future of military robots over the next quarter of a century. It projects likely developments in new unmanned technologies against a background of shrinking budgets and shifting strategic policies, and how the dramatic development and expansion of military unmanned systems requires large-scale consolidation and development to exploit the technology’s full potential.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at the top five drone stories of 2013

Although aerial drones been around in one form or another since World War I, it hasn’t really been until the last decade that they’ve really taken off, so to speak. Where they were once restricted to a spot of battlefield reconnaissance, in addition to military applications, drones are now used for everything from agriculture to oil prospecting and by everyone from rescue workers to real estate agents. Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.  Read More

Gizmag looks at the top five aeronautical stories of 2013

It’s almost 2014 and time for a bit of aeronautical reflection as we look back at what records were broken, which new prizes were won, and what new technologies promise us a hypersonic, jet-packed future of aviation and innovation. So let’s have a glance at Gizmag’s pick of the top five aeronautical achievements of 2013.  Read More

'Quick Robin, to the AirMule!'

If you saw The Dark Knight Rises, then you no doubt remember the very cool-looking Batwing aircraft in which Mr. Wayne flew over the streets of Gotham. Perhaps you thought that while it was pretty impressive, there was no way that anything like it could work in real life. Well hey, guess what? The Batwing-like AirMule VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) prototype aircraft recently demonstrated its ability to fly autonomously, bringing it one step closer to carrying out a full mission demo.  Read More

A Sense and Avoid (SAA) system that allows UAVs to operate safely around other aircraft in...

Palmdale, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. (GA-ASI), the maker of the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) successfully completed the first of several flight tests of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, that allows a UAV to see and avoid other aircraft in flight.  Read More

The DelFly Explorer MAV in flight

We've seen autonomous MAVs (micro air vehicles) before, and we've seen flapping-wing MAVs before. According to a group of researchers from the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, however, we've never seen an autonomous flapping-wing MAV – until now. Yesterday the four-man team announced its DelFly Explorer, which is described as "the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments."  Read More

SkyJack was made from a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 like the one pictured here

Amazon's Prime Air announcement last week brought concerns about the use of commercial drones to the fore, but one programmer may have just muddied the waters even more. Notable hacker Samy Kamkar recently modified a Parrot AR.Drone 2 with his custom software, called SkyJack, allowing it to seek out the wireless signals of other UAVs and take control of them, even while in flight.  Read More

Sequence photo of the launch of the XFC (Photo: NAVSEA-AUTEC)

Today, the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) announced that it had successfully launched a drone from a submerged submarine. The all-electric eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System (XFC) was launched in the Bahamas from the Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Providence (SSN 719) using a system that allowed the drone to be deployed without modifications to the boat, or requiring it to surface.  Read More

A quadcopter running the algorithm is able to remain in control, even after losing one pro...

Whether it's for Amazon-purchased goods, text books or defibrillators, unmanned multicopters are increasingly being considered for use as delivery vehicles. Given that this would involve their flying over heavily-populated areas, however, many people are rightly concerned about the aircraft malfunctioning and crashing down onto someone below. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have created a control algorithm that allows any quadcopter to keep flying, even if it loses multiple motors or propellers.  Read More

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