Archive for the ‘drones’ category: Page 4

Feb 18, 2023

Autonomous cargo drone airline Dronamics reveals it’s raised $40M, pre-Series A

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

Autonomous aircraft have long been thought of as having the most potential, though not in the realm of glitzy people-carrying drones so much as the more sedate world of cargo. It’s here where the economic savings could be most significant. Large, long-range drones built specifically for cargo have the potential to be faster, cheaper and produce fewer CO2 emissions than conventional aircraft, enabling same-day shipping over very long distances. In fact, the “flying delivering van” is considered the holy grail by many cargo operators.

In this space there are a number of companies operating, and these include: ElroyAir (California, raised $56 million), hybrid electric, VTOL, so so therefore short range; Natilus (California, funding undisclosed) uses a blended wing body, and is a large, longer-term project entailing probably quite high costs in certification and production; and Beta (Vermont, $886 million raised), which is an electric VTOL.

Into this space, out of Bulgaria (but HQ’d in London), comes Dronamics. The startup has already attained a license to operate in Europe, and plans to run a “cargo drone airline” using drones built specifically for the purpose. Dronamics claims its flagship “Black Swan” model will be able to carry 350 kg (770 lb) at a distance of up to 2,500 km (1,550 miles) faster, cheaper and with less emissions than currently available options.

Feb 16, 2023

The Problematic Nature Of Generative AI

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

Resist the temptation to take credit for patchwork combinations of other people’s work. If you’re great, prove it by articulating unique ideas in unique ways. Never before has there been a better opportunity for ambitious thinkers to achieve greatness. When others are creating and consuming synthetically generated content like flying drones in a perpetual hover state, there’s an opportunity for non-drones to fly higher, farther and faster.

For example, students manipulating the system by having ChatGPT write essays miss an opportunity to learn, demonstrate a dangerously poor understanding of ethics and prove they’re no better than everyone else. Students who learn on their own, articulate original ideas and share a passion for a subject will outperform the machines by an increasingly wide margin.

The future of humans is a fusion of what machines and people do best. What can be predicted or regurgitated should be left to machines, but what requires judgment or rational thinking should be left to us. Generative AI isn’t a crutch, it’s not a panacea, and it’s not a threat to humans. We’re the only species capable of synthesizing ideas, forming opinions and making decisions based on ethical principles. Let’s use this moment in history to embrace the future while investing in our humanity.

Feb 16, 2023

Researchers resurrect dead birds as drones, thanks to taxidermy

Posted by in category: drones

A team of researchers has successfully developed drones from the bodies of stuffed dead birds. While a little macabre, the team members believe such drones could one day be used to watch animals without being seen.

But, as revealed at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech 2023 Forum, the same taxidermy drones could also be used to spy on human subjects by governments or militaries.

Feb 15, 2023

Why stratospheric balloons are used in era of space-based intelligence

Posted by in categories: drones, military, satellites, surveillance

WASHINGTON — When the Pentagon revealed last week that a high-flying, Chinese balloon was spotted over the United States, officials said they didn’t expect the airship would add much value to the intelligence China is already gathering through its network of spy satellites.

“Our best assessment at the moment is that whatever the surveillance payload is on this balloon, it does not create significant value added over and above what the [People’s Republic of China] is likely able to collect through things like satellites in low Earth orbit,” a senior defense official told reporters Feb. 2.

While it’s unclear what information the uncrewed airship gathered before the Pentagon shot it down Feb. 4, experts say balloons loitering at high altitudes can offer some advantages over satellites and drones — or could at least augment their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

Feb 14, 2023

AI flies modified F-16 jet for 17 hours all by itself. Is this the future of the Air Force?

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

The skies were clear as the VISTA X-62A — a one-of-a-kind training aircraft built by Lockheed Martin on an F-16 platform — soared over the Mojave Desert. The cockpit of the high-tech jet is littered with expensive and highly sensitive avionics that enable pilots to perform their missions. But the designers could have crammed in even more technology if it were not for the two pilot seats. Their wish might come true in the not-so-distant future. That’s because this was not your regular sortie.

The training jet was recently reported to have flown 17 hours entirely operated by an artificial intelligence (AI) system, which could open the floodgates for completely autonomous jet fighters and drones. This is the first time that an AI has flown a tactical aircraft for this long.

The VISTA X-62 is perhaps the most powerful and versatile training jet in the world. It’s essentially an upgraded F-16D with Block 40 avionics installed, but with a lot of room for installing and trying out different hardware quickly and easily, that mimics the flight controls of other aircraft, enabling the aircraft itself to act as its own ground simulator. Those who’ve flown the X-62 describe it as a Swiss army knife that they can use to attach lots of different things to the airplane.

Feb 14, 2023

The world’s first airport for flying cars and drones has just landed

Posted by in category: drones

The UK’s development of an urban airport for flying cars and drones could inspire other nations to follow suit.

Feb 11, 2023

New Lithium Metal Battery Lets Drones Fly 70 Percent Longer

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

Nanoscale defects and mechanical stress cause the failure of solid electrolytes.

A group of researchers has claimed to have found the cause of the recurring short-circuiting issues of lithium metal batteries with solid electrolytes. The team, which consists of members from Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, aims to further the battery technology, which is lightweight, inflammable, energy-dense, and offers quick-charge capabilities. Such a long-lasting solution can help to overcome the barriers when it comes to the adoption of electric vehicles around the world.

A study published on January 30 in the journal Nature Energy details different experiments on how nanoscale defects and mechanical stress cause solid electrolytes to fail.

Continue reading “New Lithium Metal Battery Lets Drones Fly 70 Percent Longer” »

Feb 11, 2023

This New AI Just BROKE The Film Industry

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

AI that can make it seem as if you said something you didn’t.

In this How Nifty video, this new AI (artificial intelligence) called Flawless just broke the entire film industry… and more!

Continue reading “This New AI Just BROKE The Film Industry” »

Feb 7, 2023

This drone can soar through the skies and swim like a fish underwater

Posted by in categories: drones, military

With its state-of-the-art design, it provides endless possibilities for exploration and adventure!

A research team at the Chinese University in Hong Kong recently demonstrated that, despite giving off an aura of extraterrestrial technology to onlookers, it’s not out-of-this-world for objects to traverse between water and air in the blink of an eye.

Mirs-X-a revolutionary new quadcopter prototype.

Continue reading “This drone can soar through the skies and swim like a fish underwater” »

Feb 7, 2023

Echolocation could give small robots the ability to find lost people

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

Scientists and roboticists have long looked at nature for inspiration to develop new features for machines. In this case, researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland were inspired by bats and other animals that rely on echolocation to design a method that would give small robots that ability to navigate themselves — one that doesn’t need expensive hardware or components too large or too heavy for tiny machines. In fact, according to PopSci, the team only used the integrated audio hardware of an interactive puck robot and built an audio extension deck using cheap mic and speakers for a tiny flying drone that can fit in the palm of your hand.

The system works just like bat echolocation. It was designed to emit sounds across frequencies, which a robot’s microphone then picks up as they bounce off walls. An algorithm the team created then goes to work to analyze sound waves and create a map with the room’s dimensions.

In a paper published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, the researchers said existing “algorithms for active echolocation are less developed and often rely on hardware requirements that are out of reach for small robots.” They also said their “method is model-based, runs in real time and requires no prior calibration or training.” Their solution could give small machines the capability to be sent on search-and-rescue missions or to previously uncharted locations that bigger robots wouldn’t be able to reach. And since the system only needs onboard audio equipment or cheap additional hardware, it has a wide range of potential applications.

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