Photokina 2014 highlights

Unmanned

The X-47B catching the arrester cable

The robot takeover came a step closer as Northrop Grumman and the US Navy carried out a successful carrier-style landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator. The test, which was carried out on Saturday at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, used a land-based version of an aircraft carrier cable-arrested landing system as the beginning of the final phase of testing prior to carrier-based trials planned for later this month.  Read More

Northrop Grumman's CUTLASS UGV is designed to provide remote handling and surveillance of ...

The arrest of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was carried out, in part, with the help of a remote controlled robot. Such an operation highlights the growing uses of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) in anti-terrorist and other operations. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s CUTLASS robot, developed by its division in Coventry, U.K. is designed to provide remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats and is intended to replace British Army’s Wheelbarrow robot for bomb disposal.  Read More

Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall repli...

Sending messages in bottles has been around since at least the Ancient Greeks, but it's doubtful that anyone back then sent out a bottle quite like this. As part of a promotional campaign, Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall replica soda bottle outfitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology and set it adrift in the ocean.  Read More

The FrankenDrone can travel easily in shallow water

If you want to explore places like the shallow, weedy Florida Everglades, do you use a traditional boat with a submerged propeller? Heck no, you use an air boat! You know, one of those things with the big airplane-style propeller on the back – the boat is pushed across the surface of the water, and there are no fragile underwater bits to worry about. Aerospace engineer Larry Friese has taken that same principle, and applied it to his remote-control FrankenDrone USV ... or Unmanned Surface Vehicle.  Read More

Two Leptron Avenger UAVs will be used by the Arlington PD from April 2013

Starting in April, 2013, the Arlington Texas police department will have permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly two small helicopter UAVs over the city in certain situations, including taking crime scene photos or looking for missing persons. While these UAVs have been operating for some time, until now flights have been restricted to remote testing area.  Read More

SpaceX Dragon capsule visiting the ISS in May 2012 (Image: NASA)

SpaceX has announced that its Dragon spacecraft’s docking with the International Space Station (ISS) has been rescheduled for 6:01 AM EST (11:01 GMT) Sunday, March 3. SpaceX managers and NASA gave clearance today for the rendezvous, which will see the craft captured by NASA Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn using a robotic arm.  Read More

In flight: NASA's X48-C Blended Wing Body prototype (Photo: NASA/Carla Thomas)

It's easy to forget that, between roving Mars and maintaining a permanent manned space presence, NASA also takes a keen interest in conventional flight. Developed in conjunction with Boeing, NASA's X-48C is the latest iteration in its six-year X-48 program to develop an unmanned Blended Wing Body aircraft. So perhaps we should modify that prior statement: NASA also takes a keen interest in unconventional conventional flight.  Read More

Russia is planning to launch probe Luna-Glob in 2015 as a first step toward building a ful...

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, a first step toward the ambitious long-term plan to establish a robotic base on the surface of our largest satellite. The spacecraft, called Luna-Glob ("Moon globe"), will be followed by two more orbiters and two rovers that will study the lunar soil locally and collect samples of rocks and dust, bringing them back to Earth for analysis.  Read More

The unveiling of Taranis, July 2010

It's been 30 months since Taranis, the UK's autonomous stealth drone, featured on the pages of Gizmag when a prototype of the aircraft was unveiled. According to a report in the UK's Telegraph last Sunday, the unmanned combat aircraft is set to undergo flight testing later this year.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Keck asteroid capture mission (Image: Rick Sternbach / Keck Instit...

To paraphrase an old saying, if the astronaut can’t go to the asteroid, the the asteroid must come to the astronaut. In a study released by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, researchers outlined a mission to tow an asteroid into lunar orbit by 2025 using ion propulsion and a really big bag. The idea is to bring an asteroid close to Earth for easy study and visits by astronauts without the hazards and expense of a deep space mission.  Read More

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