The Georgia Institute of Technology has plopped its robotic dragonfly drone up on Indiegogo to be crowdfunded. It's a pretty impressive device: a four-winged, superlight flier with the capability to hold a camera, plus GPS, Wi-Fi, and compatibility with smartphone apps. But one of the coolest ideas comes from the dragonfly itself: the tiny, 6-inch Robot Dragonfly can glide like an insect rather than having to constantly flap to hold itself aloft, like the Parrot AR.Drone 2, so its battery life reaches up to half an hour. (Comparatively, that's a lot.) You can snag one for as low as $100 if you fund now--apparently it'll retail for more than twice that. Check it out here.
Self-piloted drones may be able to land or fly almost anywhere -- even aircraft carriers -- but they need some complex navigation skills to do it, including the somewhat existential ability to know where they are in the world. But this is difficult without some type of onboard relative positioning system.
Drones are learning the difference between a car and a tree--and how to make their next moves
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.14.2012 at 10:14 am 5 Comments
Self-piloted drones have become sophisticated enough to land on moving aircraft carriers, but put a single unexpected tree in the way, and they will crash. Now a five-university group that includes specialists in biology, computer vision and robotics is trying to teach drones to dodge obstacles on the fly. Working with $7.5 million from the Office of Naval Research, the scientists aim to build an autonomous, fixed-wing surveillance drone that can navigate through an unfamiliar city or forest at 35 miles an hour.
On a clear day early next year, an unmanned aircraft painted in the dark gull gray of a Navy fighter jet will take off from a runway at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, bank over the Chesapeake Bay and set a course toward an aircraft carrier, motoring several miles out over the Atlantic. As it approaches the carrier, the craft will open communication with air-traffic control, request landing clearance from the deck officers and establish a glide slope that accounts for wind velocity, ship speed and even the slight rolling of the ship's deck. Pilots consider a carrier landing one of the hardest operations in all of flight. The X-47B will land without any pilot at all.
If you want to know what the future looks like, sit down and have a talk with Roy Minson. He's the senior vice president and general manager of unmanned aircraft systems at Aerovironment, the manufacturer of nearly 85 percent of the Department of Defense's unmanned aircraft fleet--not the Reapers and Predators that so often make headlines, but small aerial systems that make up the vast majority of the DoD's 7,000 strong unmanned aircraft fleet. That is to say, business with the defense sector is good at Aerovironment. But today Minson is talking almost exclusively about non-military applications for the company's hardware--him, and just about everybody else at the nation's largest robotic systems show.
LAS VEGAS--The exhibition floor at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's annual North American show--the largest expo for both civilian and military unmanned robotic hardware in the country--opened yesterday, and for the rest of the week the robots are taking over, at least at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in sunny Las Vegas. Naturally, PopSci just couldn't stay away.
Today in ways the impending domestic drone explosion is going to change your life: a number of utilities are testing new technologies that will allow them to quickly diagnose grid problems and rapidly restore electricity to areas stricken by blackouts--technologies that include augmented reality apps and aerial drones.
A new underwater drone concept could seek and destroy one of the ocean’s most insidious enemies, while earning a profit for plastics recyclers. This marine drone can siphon plastic garbage, swallowing bits of trash in a gaping maw rivaling that of a whale shark.