Midair refueling of manned aircraft currently calls for the dispatching of a huge tanker plane and a delicate midair link-up between two moving aircraft. The unmanned aerial vehicles of the future may have a much easier time staying aloft for days at a time--indefinitely, really--via laser refueling systems that beam energy from the ground to aircraft on the wing. Lockheed Martin's Stalker Unmanned Aerial System recently demonstrated the potential of these emerging laser power systems by maintaining continuous operation for 48 straight hours.
Eventually it will fly for four days straight, making only water as its waste product. But a journey of four days starts with a few minutes, so the chubby PhantomEye's first autonomous flight was under half an hour.
The aircraft took off June 1 from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, climbed to 4,080 feet and cruised at 62 knots in a flight that lasted 28 minutes, Boeing said Tuesday. When it landed, the gear dug into the lakebed and broke.
Salon's interesting takeaway from last week's big reveal of the Federal Aviation Administration's list of certified drone operators cleared to fly unmanned aerial systems in U.S. airspace: the biggest drone users in the U.S. aren't law enforcement agencies, but universities.
A list of current entities permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aerial vehicles in U.S. airspace says one thing very clearly: if you fear the drones, stay the hell out of Texas. The Washington D.C. area as well, for that matter.
China usually holds its military hand very close to the vest--that, or things "mysteriously" leak that it doesn't (does) want the world to know about--so we're left to wonder why the People's Republic has decided to publish this in the journal Advanced Materials Research. Nonetheless, it's pretty interesting. Chinese navy researchers have plans for a new submarine hunting scheme that uses ship-launched UAVs running genetic algorithms.
Drones: they’re not just for controversial cross-border airstrikes anymore. Physicist Jason Barnes has designed a robotic aircraft that could cruise the methane skies of Saturn’s moon Titan almost indefinitely, beaming data and images back to Earth and terminating with extreme prejudice any terrorist threats it encounters there (we made that last part up).
Nowadays, nearly one in three American military aircraft is a drone, according to a congressional report, a 40-fold increase in the drone army from just a few years ago. From tiny man-portable flying wings to behemoth strike planes, unmanned aircraft now make up 31 percent of the military’s air power.
A somewhat strange story emerged yesterday involving an extremist antigovernment group, a North Dakota sheriff's office, and six missing cows, but there's a much larger story behind this brief legal tangle between local law enforcement and the Brossart family of Nelson Country. When Alex, Thomas and Jacob Brossart were arrested on their farm back in June after allegedly chasing the local Sheriff off their property with rifles, they became the first known U.S.
A sheriff's office outside of Houston is taking a big and potentially controversial step forward with a new piece of law enforcement technology. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Conroe, Texas, is prepping its deputies to fly a $300,000 unmanned ShadowHawk helicopter --paid for with a Department of Homeland Security grant--that someday might carry a weapons payload.
The U.S. military has a data problem. If knowing is half the battle then it's the half the Pentagon should never lose, at least in theory. But in practice, the military's data problem is significant, vexing, and given the current pace of acceleration, technologically intimidating. Just two years ago, there were roughly a dozen NATO aircraft flying surveillance missions over Afghanistan at any given time. Now, there are more than 50 Predator and Reaper drones in the air at once, and all of them are dumping fat streams of data to the ground all the time.