Tag Archives: drones

Swedish engineer test flies human-carrying drone

A Swedish engineer, in his garage, has built a flying vehicle using drones and gasoline engines.

You have to see the thing to understand how insanely simple, crazy, and cool this is. For example, the whole thing is essentially nothing more than a seat surrounded by eight drones, their spinning propellers rotating only about two feet from the passenger.

But it appears to work, though the design is without doubt not quite finalized. I have embedded a video of one of his test flights below the fold. This was fortunately an unmanned flight, because about three minutes in the vehicle goes out of control and crashes.
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FAA moves to regulate backyard drone use

The law is only there to crush the little people: The FAA has issued a subpoena against a father and son who posted youtube videos showing off their modifications to a drone, equipping it first with a gun and then with a flame thrower.

They are fighting the subpoena, noting that the FAA lacks any authority to regulate the use of recreational drones.

The Haughwouts’ attorney, Mario Cerame, told CBS News that the decision could potentially set an important precedent about the FAA’s power to regulate recreational drone use. Cerame added, the FAA should not be using airplane regulations to seek information about “a kid playing in his backyard…. They shouldn’t use airplane regulations,” Cerame told CBS News. “They should go get the authority from Congress. It’s about keeping the government in check as to what Congress said they can do.”

Hey, we know they never intended to do anything wrong! And besides, no reasonable prosecutor would ever consider bringing charges, right?

Drone racing deal for ESPN

The success of competitive drone racing this year has resulted in a broadcast deal with ESPN.

ESPN’s new multi-year, international distribution deal will bring a number of races to television screens this year, beginning with the 2016 US National Drone Racing Championships on Governors Island, New York City, between August 5 and 7. This will be followed by the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships in October, which will attract pilots from more than 30 countries to the Kualoa Ranch private nature reserve in Hawaii for a share of $200,000 in cash prizes. Both events will be streamed live on ESPN3, and then packaged into one hour specials to be shown on the ESPN network thereafter.

Fifteen-year-old pilot wins 250K at drone race

A fifteen year old has taken the top prize in the first World Drone Prix, held in Dubai on March 11 and 12.

Some 150 teams, hailing from all around the globe, started out in the World Drone Prix. Entrants were able to remotely qualify for the event via an American Idol-style submission video. Then, at an indoor qualifying track at Skydive Dubai, this number was whittled down to 32. The field then pitted their drones against one another on an outdoor, 591-m (646-yd) race track. The illuminated course tempts the more audacious competitors with Mario Kart-style shortcuts and makes for quite a spectacular setting with Dubai’s towering skyline in the background.

The 32 was cut down to a round of 16, followed by semi finals and then a grand finale on Saturday night. Bannister’s Tornado X-Blades Banni UK team claimed first place in the final, beating out Dubai Drone Tek, VS Meshcheriakov and Dutch Drone Race Team SQG , whose hauls of $125,000, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, aren’t exactly pocket change either. By way of comparison, and to demonstrate how the sport has exploded in popularity, last year’s inaugural US Drone Racing National Championship offered a total purse of $25,000.

Be sure to check out the video at the link.

The UK launches a 3D printed airplane drone

A University of Southampton team, under a project for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, have built and launched an entirely 3D printed unmanned air vehicle (UAV) from a navy ship.

Produced under the institution’s Project Triangle, the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) UAV was launched via catapult from the patrol vessel HMS Mersey, and flew over the Wyke Regis training facility near Weymouth in the south of the country to land on Chesil beach. The 5min sortie covered a range of some 500m, with the UAV carrying a small video payload to record the mission so that operators could monitor it during the flight.

SULSA measures 150cm (59in) and weighs 3kg (6.6lb), and is made via 3D printing using laser sintered nylon. The university claims that SULSA is the world’s first UAV made entirely via the technique. It consists of four separately manufactured main parts that are assembled without the need for any additional tools.

The specific achievement here is interesting, but its significance in illustrating the growing use of unmanned drones and 3D printing is more important. Very soon, a large percentage of everything we own will be built with 3D printing technology, lowering the cost while making construction easier. As for drones, they carry both positive and negative possibilities.

A drone that flies in a protective cage wins million dollar prize

The competition heats up: A privately developed drone called Gimball that flies inside a protective cage so that it is not harmed by obstacles and is also not a threat to nearby humans was named the first prize winner, worth $1 million, in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) dorne competition.

Amazing video of the working Gimball drone prototype below the fold. It is a brilliant concept, and is without doubt going to revolutionize the use of drones in numerous ways. Expect all drones to soon have similar protective cages as well.
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A drone for Mars

Engineers at JPL have begun testing prototypes of a drone that would be used on Mars to aid future rovers.

The newest solution proposed by JPL is the Mars Helicopter, an autonomous drone that could “triple the distances that Mars rovers can drive in a Martian day,” according to NASA. The helicopter would fly ahead of a rover when its view is blocked and send Earth-bound engineers the right data to plan the rover’s route.

FAA moves to regulate and thus destroy drone use

We’re here to help you: The FAA is considering a new rule to require a pilot’s license in order to operate a private drone, even drones more akin to model airplanes.

The proposed rules would require that a drone owner would have to get certified as a pilot, “certification that can cost $10,000 and demand many hours flying aircraft that control nothing like a little drone.”

“Knowing the proper flap setting on a short runway approach for a Cessna 172 doesn’t do any good for a DJI Phantom [an inexpensive and popular commercial drone],” said Matt Waite, a University of Nebraska professor and founder of the Drone Journalism Lab. “A lot of people out there already running businesses in conflict with FAA policy, who don’t have pilot licenses, are probably looking at this like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”

Gee, here we have a new industry that is growing and prosperous, with many people coming up with creative ideas for using drones that none of its inventors ever dreamed of, and the government wants to step in and control it, regulating it to a point where it can’t even exist legally. Isn’t that nice of them?

A drone that can fly continuously for five years at 65,000 feet.

A drone that can fly continuously for five years at 65,000 feet.

The Solara series are designed to be a fraction of the cost of a satellite, but operate many similar tasks, such as surveillance, crop-monitoring, weather and disaster oversight, or any other monitoring that low-altitude satellites track. The Solara aircraft could cost less than $2 million, according to Forbes, which quotes Dustin Sanders, Titan’s chief electrical engineer, as saying, “We’re trying to do a single-million-dollar-per-aircraft platform. And the operation cost is almost nothing — you’re paying some dude to watch the payload and make sure the aircraft doesn’t do anything stupid.”

As with any new invention, the use of this drone carries with it both good and bad possibilities.

Rand Paul’s proposed non-binding resolution on the use of drones that the Senate Democrats refuse to bring to a vote.

Rand Paul’s proposed non-binding resolution on the use of drones that the Senate Democrats refuse to bring to a vote.

Read it and I dare you to tell me that the Democrats still believe in civil rights and the Constitution.

the first detailed look at the criteria the Obama administration uses to judge if it can legally kill American citizens traveling abroad without the benefit of due process.

The Constitution is such an inconvenient thing: “The first detailed look at the criteria the Obama administration uses to judge if it can legally kill American citizens traveling abroad without the benefit of due process.”