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Archive for the ‘drones’ category

Feb 3, 2019

The US Army Is Equipping Soldiers With Pocket-Sized Recon Drones

Posted by in category: drones

The U.S. Army has placed a $39 million order for tiny reconnaissance drones, small enough to fit in a soldier’s pocket or palm.

The idea behind the drones, which are made by FLIR Systems and look like tiny menacing helicopters, is that soldiers will be able to send them into the sky of the battlefield in order to get a “lethal edge” during combat, according to Business Insider.

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Feb 1, 2019

Outdoor Autonomous Flying of Flying-LASDRA with Onboard Sensing

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

A saying from one of my favorite movies is, “Tie two birds together and even though they have four wings they cannot fly.” Can’t say the same about flying drones.

“We perform outdoor autonomous flying experiment of f-LASDRA, constructed with multiple ODAR-8 links connected via cable with each other. Each ODAR-8 can compensate for its own weight, rendering f-LASDRA scalable. Utilizing SCKF with IMU/GNSS-module on each link and inter-link kinematic-constraints, we attain estimation accuracy suitable for stable control (5cm: cf. 1-5m w/ GNSS).”

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Jan 28, 2019

How to tame autonomous weapons

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

The world has not entered the age of the killer robot, at least not yet. Today’s autonomous weapons are mostly static systems to shoot down incoming threats in self-defence, or missiles fired into narrowly defined areas. Almost all still have humans “in the loop” (eg, remotely pulling the trigger for a drone strike) or “on the loop” (ie, able to oversee and countermand an action). But tomorrow’s weapons will be able to travel farther from their human operators, move from one place to another and attack a wider range of targets with humans “out of the loop” (see article). Will they make war even more horrible? Will they threaten civilisation itself? It is time for states to think harder about how to control them.


A good approach is a Franco-German proposal that countries should share more information on how they assess new weapons; allow others to observe demonstrations of new systems; and agree on a code of conduct for their development and use. This will not end the horrors of war, or even halt autonomous weapons. But it is a realistic and sensible way forward. As weapons get cleverer, humans must keep up.

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Jan 22, 2019

Red Cross sounds alarm over use of ‘killer robots’ in future wars

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

NAIROBI — Countries must agree strict rules on “killer robots” — autonomous weapons which can assassinate without human involvement, a top Red Cross official has said, amid growing ethical concerns over their use in future wars.

Semi-autonomous weapons systems from drones to tanks have for decades been used to eliminate targets in modern day warfare — but they all have human control behind them.

With rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, there are fears among humanitarians over its use to develop machines which can independently make the decision about who to kill.

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Jan 19, 2019

This Drone Takes off by Leaping With Bird-Inspired Legs

Posted by in category: drones

It could soon make deliveries in the places that need drones the most.

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Jan 16, 2019

NASA May Decide This Year to Land a Drone on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, drones, space

The spacecraft that have peered through the yellowish haze surrounding Saturn’s moon Titan discovered a strange, yet strangely familiar world where life could theoretically take root. Now, scientists want to return — this time buoyed by Earth’s fascination with drone technology.

That’s precisely what a team of scientists working on a proposed mission called Dragonfly want to do: combine terrestrial drone technology and instruments honed by Mars exploration to investigate the complex chemical reactions taking place on Saturn’s largest moon. Later this year, NASA will need to decide between that mission and another finalist proposal, which would collect a sample from a comet.

“At first blush, I think a lot of people think [Dragonfly] sounds like the literal meaning of incredible,” Melissa Trainer, a deputy principal investigator with the mission, told Space.com. “Not only is this an incredibly exciting concept with amazing, compelling science, but also, it is doable — it’s feasible from an engineering standpoint.” [Landing on Titan: Pictures from Huygens Probe on Saturn Moon].

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Jan 7, 2019

Wireless Charging Tech Lets Drones Stay Aloft Indefinitely

Posted by in categories: drones, energy

A “power cloud” recharges the drone’s battery mid-flight.

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Dec 28, 2018

Drones Used to Find Toy-Like “Butterfly” Land Mines

Posted by in category: drones

Quadcopters with thermal imagery cameras can help detect vicious mini-mines that often kill or maim children.

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Dec 20, 2018

This Drone Seamlessly Transitions Between Swimming and Flying

Posted by in categories: drones, food, government

It isn’t unreasonable to think of drones as pesky technological nuisances. Our modern digital ecosystem regularly infringes on traditional notions of privacy and bombards our limited attention spans with stimuli. A swarm of drones hovering overhead seems like the physical manifestation of these intrusions and distractions. But we shouldn’t swat them away just yet. Drones still have practical utility and the potential to change industries.

An Expanding Market

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Dec 19, 2018

Inside Shenzhen’s race to outdo Silicon Valley

Posted by in category: drones

Every day at around 4 p.m., the creeeek criikkk of stretched packing tape echoes through Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen’s sprawling neighborhood of hardware stores. Shopkeepers package up the day’s sales—selfie sticks, fidget spinners, electric scooters, drones—and by 5, crowds of people are on the move at the rapid pace locals call Shenzhen sudu, or “Shenzhen speed,” carting boxes out on motorcycles, trucks, and—if it’s a light order—zippy balance boards. From Huaqiangbei the boxes are brought to the depots of global logistics companies and loaded onto airplanes and cargo ships. In the latter case they join 24 million metric tons of container cargo going out every month from Shekou harbor—literally “snake’s mouth,” the world’s third-busiest shipping port after Shanghai and Singapore.

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