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Unmanned


— Space

Top secret X-37B spaceplane breaks orbital endurance record

A secret mission came to a public end this morning as the US Air Force’s top secret X-37B spaceplane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned reusable spacecraft touched down on the runway like a conventional aircraft this morning at 9:24 am EDT after a record-breaking 674 days in orbit. According to the Air Force, the automatic landing was monitored by the 30th Space Wing and occurred without incident. Read More
— Military

US Navy demonstrates how robotic "swarm" boats could protect warships

In an age plagued by terrorism, the threat posed to the world’s navies and merchant fleets by small craft laden with explosives or crews with automatic weapons is a very real and present danger. To help combat this, the United States Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) is developing a fleet of robotic patrol boats that can not only act as escorts for larger warships or merchant vessels, but can also autonomously swarm around a threatening craft and destroy it. Read More
— Aircraft

Small UAV Coalition formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs

As is so often the case when it comes to rapidly evolving technologies, the law is struggling to keep up with the surge in popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In an attempt to pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small UAVs in the US and around the world, a number of players in the field have teamed up to form the Small UAV Coalition. Read More
— Drones

Modular PlexiDrone homes in on aerial photography

With the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week granting exemptions for drone use in film production, we are guessing this won't be the last time we cover an unmanned aerial vehicle promising fresh new ways of capturing footage from above. The team behind the PlexiDrone really couldn't have timed its run any better, looking to shake things up with a snap-together drone capable of lugging a range of camera equipment along for the ride. Read More
— Space

Rosetta comet landing date selected

Ever since the historic achievement of August 6, when Rosetta became the first unmanned spacecraft to achieve a stable orbit around a comet, mission operators have been readying themselves for the inevitable nail-biting landing attempt. Six weeks after arrival at the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), Rosetta's handlers have tentatively announced November 12 as the date for the historic touchdown. Read More
— Drones

Facebook to start testing internet beaming drones in 2015

There was an understandable amount of skepticism when Amazon announced its grand plans for delivery drones last year. But if the last twelve months are any indication, Jeff Bezos and his fellow tech heavyweights are actually kinda serious about the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. Speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York on Monday, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab, Yael Maguire, has further detailed the company's vision of internet-carrying drones, with plans to begin testing in 2015. Read More
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