At AUVSI’s unmanned systems conference a couple of weeks ago, the FAA paid a good deal of lip service to the idea of integrating robotic, unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. Then they basically told those of us in the crowd that they would have the regulations ready by 2025 (notably, the speakers didn’t pause for applause at this time). But not every government is being so patient.
The future of carrier-based warfare quietly took to the skies over the weekend as the U.S. Navy successfully conducted the first-ever flight of its vaunted X-47B unmanned aircraft at Edwards AFB. The tailless, fighter-sized drone aircraft, designed by Northrop Grumman for carrier-based takeoffs and landings, spent half an hour in the air late Friday executing basic navigation maneuvers and otherwise proving that its design is airworthy and ready for further development.
Anyone following the news out of America’s Af/Pak engagement knows that drones are being used increasingly – some say alarmingly so – to ferret out and eliminate militants along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. But if drones can track militants hiding in the Pakistani hills, why can’t they track a celebrity in Hollywood Hills? A celebrity-photo agency is developing a camera-equipped paparazzi drone that could soon be tracking and terrorizing celebrities in public and at their homes.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.