Archive for the ‘drones’ category

Dec 4, 2023

High-Power Fiber Lasers emerge as a Pioneering Technology

Posted by in categories: drones, energy

Optical scientists have found a new way to significantly increase the power of fibre lasers while maintaining their beam quality, making them a future key defence technology against low-cost drones and for use in other applications such as remote sensing.

Researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA), the University of Adelaide (UoA) and Yale University have demonstrated the potential use of multimode optical fibre to scale up power in fibre lasers by three-to-nine times but without deteriorating the beam quality so that it can focus on distant targets.

The breakthrough is published in Nature Communications.

Dec 1, 2023

Billionaire Palmer Luckey Unveils A New Jet-Powered Drone — And It Looks Bonkers

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

Anduril Industries says it wants to become the Lockheed Martin of the 21st century.

The fast autonomous drone, called Roadrunner, is designed by Luckey’s Anduril Industries to intercept and blow up enemy aircraft.

Dec 1, 2023

NASA’s nuclear-powered drone mission to Saturn’s moon now set for 2028

Posted by in categories: drones, nuclear energy, space travel

NASA’s maiden mission to explore Saturn’s moon, Titan, has progressed to the next phase of development.

If everything goes as planned, the launch of this car-sized nuclear-powered drone will take place in 2028.

Continue reading “NASA’s nuclear-powered drone mission to Saturn’s moon now set for 2028” »

Nov 30, 2023

The Military’s Big Bet on Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI, space

Number 4 Hamilton Place is a be-columned building in central London, home to the Royal Aeronautical Society and four floors of event space. In May, the early 20th-century Edwardian townhouse hosted a decidedly more modern meeting: Defense officials, contractors, and academics from around the world gathered to discuss the future of military air and space technology.

Things soon went awry. At that conference, Tucker Hamilton, chief of AI test and operations for the United States Air Force, seemed to describe a disturbing simulation in which an AI-enabled drone had been tasked with taking down missile sites. But when a human operator started interfering with that objective, he said, the drone killed its operator, and cut the communications system.

Nov 28, 2023

Hyperwar Ascendant: The Global Race For Autonomous Military Supremacy

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

In my 2015 exploration with General John R. Allen on the concept of Hyperwar, we recognized the potential of artificial intelligence to unalterably change the field of battle. Chief among the examples of autonomous systems were drone swarms, which are both a significant threat and a critical military capability. Today, Hyperwar seems to be the operative paradigm accepted by militaries the world over as a de facto reality. Indeed, the observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) loop is collapsing. Greater autonomy is being imbued in all manner of weapon systems and sensors. Work is ongoing to develop systems that further decrease reaction times and increase the mass of autonomous systems employed in conflict. This trend is highlighted potently by the U.S. Replicator initiative and China’s swift advancements in automated manufacturing and missile technologies.

The U.S. Replicator Initiative: A Commitment to Autonomous Warfare?

The Pentagon’s “Replicator” initiative is a strategic move to counter adversaries like China by rapidly producing “attritable autonomous systems” across multiple domains. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks emphasized the need for platforms that are “small, smart, cheap, and many,” planning to produce thousands of such systems within 18 to 24 months. The Department of Defense, under this initiative, is developing smaller, more intelligent, and cost-effective platforms, a move that aligns with the creation of a Hyperwar environment.

Nov 27, 2023

Hydrogen-powered drones could fly longer, farther

Posted by in category: drones

Hydrogen is having a moment, thanks to Biden administration incentives to boost production — and that’s spurring development of hydrogen-powered transport, including drones.

Why it matters: Hydrogen-powered drones could potentially fly farther and carry bigger payloads than those relying on heavy electric batteries. That opens doors to new uses, like advanced logistics.

Driving the news: Israeli startup Heven Drones unveiled today two new hydrogen-powered drones that it says represent “a significant leap in endurance and precision.”

Nov 25, 2023

Pentagon steps on AI accelerator as age of lethal autonomy looms

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI, space, surveillance

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AP) — Artificial intelligence employed by the U.S. military has piloted pint-sized surveillance drones in special operations forces’ missions and helped Ukraine in its war against Russia. It tracks soldiers’ fitness, predicts when Air Force planes need maintenance and helps keep tabs on rivals in space.

Now, the Pentagon is intent on fielding multiple thousands of relatively inexpensive, expendable AI-enabled autonomous vehicles by 2026 to keep pace with China. The ambitious initiative — dubbed Replicator — seeks to “galvanize progress in the too-slow shift of U.S. military innovation to leverage platforms that are small, smart, cheap, and many,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in August.

While its funding is uncertain and details vague, Replicator is expected to accelerate hard decisions on what AI tech is mature and trustworthy enough to deploy — including on weaponized systems.

Nov 25, 2023

Airbus tests autonomous air-to-air refueling with AI-guided drones

Posted by in categories: drones, information science, robotics/AI

The tests assessed the use of AI-based navigation sensors and enhanced algorithms for autonomous formation flight.


Continue reading “Airbus tests autonomous air-to-air refueling with AI-guided drones” »

Nov 24, 2023

Tesla Lathrop Megafactory spotted with 332 Megapack batteries

Posted by in categories: drones, energy, food, sustainability

The fourth quarter is past its midway point, and Tesla’s Megafactory in Lathrop, California, seems like it’s still going full speed ahead. During a recent drone flyover of the site, a fleet of 332 Megapack batteries was spotted in the facility’s staging areas.

The Tesla Megapack may not be as visually compelling as the Cybertruck or the Model 3 Highland, but it is a key product in Tesla’s portfolio. Designed for grid use, the Megapack has the potential to disrupt the energy sector. The battery has been performing well so far, as it has been deployed successfully in high-profile projects like the 182 MW/730 MWh battery farm in Moss Landing, California, and the 150 MW/300 MWh system in New South Wales, Australia.

The Megapack is available in two variants: a 2-hour version that offers 1.9 MW of power and 3.9 MWh of energy and a 4-hour variant that features 1 MW of power and 3.9 MWh of energy. The grid-scale battery is priced at $1,908,590 for the four-hour variant with installation and $2,123,590 for the two-hour variant with installation. Without installation charges, the Megapack is priced at $1,321,390 for the two-hour variant and $1,270,310 for the four-hour version.

Nov 24, 2023

Drone delivers defibrillators for cardiac arrest faster than ambulance

Posted by in category: drones

People who have gone into cardiac arrest can get treatment faster if a drone delivers a defibrillator, but there needs to be someone nearby trained in CPR, shows a trial in Sweden.

By David Cox

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