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Archive for the ‘drones’ category

Aug 16, 2018

US targets a megawatt laser by 2023 and then deployment in drones and satellites for hypersonic and ICBM defense

Posted by in categories: drones, government, military, satellites

The US Congress wants the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to rapidly develop and demonstrate a boost-phase ICBM (and hypersonic weapon) intercept capability as soon as practicable.

Space-based laser weapons technology is one of the options.

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Aug 15, 2018

Yuneec’s latest drone comes with 4K shooting, voice controls, and face detection

Posted by in category: drones

Yuneec’s Mantis Q is a foldable drone that features 4K, voice controls, face detection, and 33 minutes of battery life. It’s available for preorder now.

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Aug 14, 2018

The Perfect Can Wait: Good Solutions to the ‘Drone Swarm’ Problem

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The nearly successful drone assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month highlighted yet again a persistent worry for U.S. defense planners: the possibility that a swarm of cheap drone-borne bombs might overwhelm the sophisticated defenses a U.S. base or ship. While the defense industry has seized upon this concern and is currently at work developing new high-tech solutions to this problem, the Department of Defense can’t rely on those alone. It makes sense to develop such solutions, but the Department of Defense procurement process is long and the threat is now. With a little ingenuity, there is much that can be done with existing technology to defend effectively against drone threats. Accordingly, this article focuses on the measures the Department of Defense can employ now, with existing technology, to mitigate the threat of drone swarms.

The Current Problem

The drone swarm threat to U.S. naval installations and ships is already quite serious. Only a small amount of explosives and shrapnel would be required to cause significant damage to many of the most important radars, cameras, and important flight systems on ships, missiles, and aircraft. Damaging critical equipment would put military platforms out of action for several weeks or even months and put intense pressure on naval logistics chains and maintenance organizations at a time when they are already hard pressed to keep up with current demands. Even more importantly, such an attack orchestrated on a grand scale could leave U.S. forces unable to respond to critical events around the world in sufficient time to fulfill U.S. defense commitments to allies and friends.

Continue reading “The Perfect Can Wait: Good Solutions to the ‘Drone Swarm’ Problem” »

Aug 13, 2018

Solar-powered aircraft stays aloft for record-breaking 25 days

Posted by in categories: drones, internet, satellites, surveillance, sustainability

While Facebook and Google recently pulled the plug on their solar-powered internet drones, another company with a lot more experience is having success with the idea. Airbus announced that its solar-powered Zephyr S HAPS (high altitude pseudo-satellite) flew for 25 straight days, setting a time aloft record for any airplane, ever. It shattered the previous record of 14 days, marked by a previous prototype Zephyr aircraft.

The Zephyr flies on sun power alone at over 70,000 feet, an altitude that just a few aircraft like the Concorde and SR-71 Blackbird have reached. That’s well above any weather, and lets it perform reconnaissance, surveillance and communications/internet duties. “[It fills a] capability gap complimentary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services,” Airbus said in a press release. A video of the takeoff (below) shows that it can be lifted and launched by hand. Once aloft, it can be operated for a fraction the cost of a satellite.

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Aug 11, 2018

An Underwater Irish Canyon Is Sucking CO2 Out of the Atmosphere

Posted by in category: drones

A research expedition to a huge underwater canyon off the Irish coast has shed light on a hidden process that sucks the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere.

Researchers led by a team from the University College Cork (UCC) took an underwater research drone by boat out to Porcupine Bank Canyon — a massive, cliff-walled underwater trench where Ireland’s continental shelf ends — to build a detailed map of its boundaries and interior. Along the way, the researchers reported in a statement, they noted a process at the edge of the canyon that pulls CO2 from the atmosphere and buries it deep under the sea.

All around the rim of the canyon live cold-water corals, which thrive on dead plankton raining down from the ocean surface. Those tiny, surface-dwelling plankton build their bodies out of carbon extracted from CO2 in the air. Then, when they die, the coral on the seafloor consume them and build their bodies out of the same carbon. Over time, as the coral die and the cliff faces shift and crumble, which sends the coral falling deep into the canyon. There, the carbon pretty much stays put for long periods. [In Photos: ROV Explores Deep-Sea Marianas Trench].

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Aug 10, 2018

Drone Assassination Attempt Foreshadows Future Events

Posted by in categories: drones, law enforcement, terrorism, weapons

Until this past year, consumer drones carried tiny ultralight cameras, but they just didn’t have the energy or the reserve to carry much else. They certainly could not deliver much of a product or payload. They flew for 15 minutes, lacked the capacity to carry excess weight, and had short range.

But market demand sparks innovation. Amazon and Domino’s Pizza are experimenting with drone delivery. The improvements needed to serve these needs are quickly bubbling down to unlicensed weekend pilots. Hexacopters with 4K cameras, gimbals and retracting landing gear are available for under $400. Tiny foldable drones with 720p cameras are available for $35. Some models don’t even need a pilot on a joystick. You can preprogram the flight path to reach any target using GPS, or you can guide them by making gestures with your hand. The drone actually looks back over its shoulder and responds to your hand-waving commands.

Lance Ulanoff is a cartoonist and robotics fantech expert. But he shares a lot in common with Wild Ducks. He is an eclectic journalist and social media commentator.

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Aug 9, 2018

A military helicopter drone that can fight wildfires

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

What if an ultra-advanced flying robot designed for extreme military missions could join the fight to combat wildfire alongside human fire crews?

The biggest wildfire in Californian history is raging, with fire officials stating earlier this week that an area almost the size of Los Angeles has been compromised.

It is actually expected to burn through the rest of August, and experts predict the escalation in frequency and scale of wildfires will only continue going forward.

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Aug 7, 2018

Engineers teach a drone to herd birds away from airports autonomously

Posted by in categories: drones, engineering, information science, robotics/AI

Engineers at Caltech have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The algorithm is presented in a study in IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

The project was inspired by the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” when US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff and pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles were forced to land in the Hudson River off Manhattan.

“The passengers on Flight 1549 were only saved because the pilots were so skilled,” says Soon-Jo Chung, an associate professor of aerospace and Bren Scholar in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science as well as a JPL research scientist, and the principal investigator on the drone herding project. “It made me think that next time might not have such a happy ending. So I started looking into ways to protect from birds by leveraging my research areas in autonomy and robotics.”

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Aug 6, 2018

Digital builds: The technology taking construction to the next level

Posted by in categories: drones, engineering, robotics/AI

In July 2018, The Engineer examined how modular fabrication techniques are reshaping the construction industry, enabling clean builds that are cost-effective and time efficient. But while off-site assembly brings many advantages, it can also be restrictive. This has prompted a new wave of engineers to bring the latest technology on-site, elevating the pre-fab to the fabulous.

According to Andrew Watts, CEO of engineering technology firm Newtecnic, this trend is part of a new era of digital construction where robots and drones will become commonplace on site. Digitalisation has penetrated virtually every aspect of design and engineering, but in many ways physical construction itself has remained a stubbornly analogue process, centuries of accumulated human expertise resisting the allure of ones and zeroes, and human hands still doing much of the heavy lifting. Newtecnic’s Construction Labs concept is aiming to change that, merging modular building with on-site construction to deliver perfect finishes on major public buildings.

“We’re using Construction Labs to realise complex projects,” Watts told The Engineer. “Its specific use is in the construction of facades and applications and connections for primary structures.”

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Aug 2, 2018

In China, flame-throwing drones are often used to clear debris off power lines

Posted by in categories: drones, energy

Like our page to learn more about China and see stories from the US.

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