Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

UAV

A model of a high altitude aerial power plant that harvests both solar and wind energy and...

Harvesting power from the wind and the sun is nothing new. We've seen flying wind turbines and solar power plants that aim to provide clean renewable energy. UK-based New Wave Energy has a bolder idea in the works. The company plans to build the first high altitude aerial power plant, using networks of unmanned drones that can harvest energy from multiple sources and transmit it wirelessly to receiving stations on the ground.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)

There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More

RTS Lab has successfully tested a prototype of its Pars aerial robot, a drone that flies o...

Earlier this year, RTS Lab unveiled its concept for Pars, an aerial robot that flies out over a large body of water to air-drop life preservers near drowning victims. Like many design concepts, we weren't sure if this life-saving drone would ever become a reality, but it seems the Iran-based company was recently able to fund a working prototype and even test its capabilities in open water. Based on these initial tests, it's possible that this flying, GPS-guided lifeguard could be out there saving lives sooner than you think.  Read More

It's actually a little startling to pick the Proto X up for the first time, because it isn...

You may have noticed that we enjoy our quadcopters here at Gizmag, from the GPS-equipped Phantom 2 Vision to the palm-sized 1SQ V-cam. Recently though, we had a chance to try out a somewhat unusual style of quad in the form of the tiny Proto X from Estes. It may not have a laundry list of features under its belt, but the Proto X does hold the distinction of being the smallest quadcopter we've ever reviewed ... by a huge margin.  Read More

Gizmag takes a turn behind the joysticks of DJI's new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter

It was less than two weeks ago that DJI Innovations released its Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter, the camera-equipped successor to its popular Phantom model. Since then, I've received a review unit from the company, which I've had a few chances to try out – between snowfalls and high winds, that is. My verdict? It's awesome, despite a couple of surprising shortcomings.  Read More

DJI Innovations' new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter

DJI Innovations unveiled its GPS-enabled Phantom quadcopter less than a year ago, and since then it has become perhaps the go-to aerial platform for the GoPro HERO actioncam. In April, the company provided us with a sneak peek at the next model in the line, the Phantom 2 Vision. While there weren't many details available at the time, that's changed as of today, with the Vision's official commercial release. Among its new features are improved battery life, a video-stabilizing platform and most significant of all, an included HD video camera that allows for first-person-view via a mobile device.  Read More

A Flirtey UAV near the Sydney Opera House

University textbooks can be quite expensive to purchase, so Australian startup Zookal now offers an increasingly popular option – textbook rentals. The problem is, some of the money that students save by renting just goes into shipping charges for the rented books. That's why Zookal has joined with another Ozzie startup, Flirtey, to offer free textbook delivery by drone.  Read More

An eBee drone sails over the Matterhorn, acquiring data and taking pictures

Explorers have mapped the surface of the iconic Matterhorn painstakingly by foot, by satellite, and now by drone, thanks to a partnership between drone maker senseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures. Launching a small squadron of eBee minidrones off the summit and sides of the famous Alps mountaintop, the mission tested the navigational abilities of the system and created a staggering data-rich 3D model.  Read More

Navigating outdoors on the MIT campus (Photo: MIT SENSEable City Lab)

The latest personal tour guide to zoom around the MIT campus flies a few feet off the ground, uses GPS and responds to phone calls. Aptly named Skycall, the drone that functions as a hovering tour guide is the brainchild of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, which created the system to help students find their way on campus. It lets users summon it through a call, flies to where they are and leads them to their destination at an unhurried pace, while they trail along behind it.  Read More

The Hydra System is composed of several parts: the delivery system, shelters that may rest...

DARPA has floated a fascinating new unmanned systems project that would see undersea motherships launching smaller submarines and flying vehicles to conduct pop-up surveillance on pirates, terrorists and hijackers. The Hydra Project, named after the Greek legend of the multi-headed snake that grew two new heads whenever one was cut off, looks to provide low cost response to quickly changing situations on or near the water.  Read More

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