The offer came simply via the subject line of an email: "Want to fly a drone?" It was from Todd Backus of DATRON, a maker of--among other things--military grade radio communication systems and tactical data networking setups based in Vista, Calif. It was a question that didn't require a whole lot of consideration on my part--if there were drones to fly at AUVSI's massive unmanned systems show in Washington D.C. last week, I was going to fly them.
And that's how I end up on a soccer pitch far from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center piloting a small quadcopter drone and quietly praying that we won't be arrested.
Commanding an army of drones is one thing; letting drones command themselves is something else entirely, especially when they have very little in common. Boeing recently tested a swarm network to help disparate drones work together, sending two types of unmanned aerial vehicles on a reconnaissance mission over eastern Oregon.
As promised, Lockheed Martin finally put its SAMARAI monocopter drone on display at AUVSI's drone extravaganza in D.C. this week, for the first time flying it before a public audience as PopSci and everyone else in the air demo area looked on in awe.
After years of development and military funding setbacks, defense contractor Lockheed Martin is finally ready to debut its maple seed-inspired drone. The one-winged, one-foot-long SAMARAI drone just flew a test flight for the Associated Press ahead of its official unveiling at an unmanned vehicle conference next week.
When you don't have an advanced flying spy drone, launching a wireless camera 500 feet into the air could be your best option. But most people, even in law enforcement, don't have access to 40mm grenade launchers, the logical choice for such a task. How about using a flare gun instead?
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:52 pm 0 Comments
Some of the students interning on the Micro-autonomous Systems Technology (MAST) project at the Army Research Lab in Maryland spend their summer trying to equip soldiers with dozens or even hundreds of “insect” robots that can swarm into a bunker or cave to provide a remote look inside. “Working in silicon at the fruit-fly scale, they’ll cost almost nothing,” says Chris Kroninger, an aeronautics researcher specializing in MAST’s wings, “and they can be equipped with limited sensor capability that can be a first warning for a soldier.”
The U.S. military has drones, lots of them if the daily reports coming in from Afghanistan and Pakistan are any indication. And a handful of law enforcement groups--though less than would like--have a drone or two at their disposal. But on the domestic, non-security front, drones live a in a regulatory gray area. Hobbyists can use them, but commercial entities are not supposed to employ drones for any kind of monetary gain, says the FAA.
Reporting from the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Danger Room got some hands-on time with a technology that may or may not have been used in the raid on Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound.
Boeing's little delta wing is all grown up and flying on its own for the first time. The Phantom Ray drone took to the skies for 17 minutes over Edwards Air Force Base last week, proving its airworthiness and showing off Boeing’s ability to quickly design and build a prototype advanced unmanned air system.