Innovation

Insitu shatters line of sight barrier with new UAS configuration

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Insitu has announced and integrator extended range UAS which aims to alleviate the line of sight barrier for small unmanned aircraft. The company, a subsidiary of Boeing, made the announcement at the Air Force Association’s annual, Air, Space and Cyber Conference. The new configuration goes beyond line of sight and is a SATCOM-enabled small UAS capable of ranging modern combat theatres. The system delivers Group 4 and 5 capabilities in a Group 3 aircraft including extended range operations of 10 hours on station at 200nm and six hours at 300nm. The new option aims to enable users to save money
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Wiltshire-based autonomous sub-orbital space flight project wants to take off

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The EARL Project is looking to build on a successful first flight as owner Dr Raymond Wright looks to take the project to the next level. Starting five years ago, the EARL Project is a rocket-powered, autonomously-piloted aerodynamic vehicle of lifting body form which aims to carry out third-party scientific experiments. The vehicle has been designed to complete micro-gravity experiments, astronomy and Earth observation into sub-orbital space. The project is owned and managed by Spacefleet, and the brains behind the idea and managing director of the company, Dr Wright, has invested just his own money so far and is hoping
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VIDEO: BSHARK launches new hydrogen-powered drone

BSHARK has partnered with MicroMultiCopter (MMC) to release a new hydrogen-powered drone. Named the Narwhal 2, the drone is an upgraded version of the hydrogen quad-copter with LTE module and 30km video transmission range. MMC manufactured the first hydrogen-powered drone, the HyDrone 1550, and provided production services to BSHARK for the new Narwhal 2. Based on aerial aluminium, the frame of Narwhal 2 is water-, dust- and fire-proof. Due to the device being powered by hydrogen, a metal-based PEM fuel cell is deployed instead of the graphite plate in order to accelerate power density. For storage, Narwhal 2 is equipped
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Imperial College London develops drone tech to deter bird flocks away from designated airspace

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New technology has been developed to deter a flock of birds away from designated airspace without breaking their formation using flying drones. In a move that will help improve safety for the aviation industry, researchers from Imperial College London have teamed up with California Institute of Technology in the US to create a ‘herding’ algorithm to be used by drones to steer birds away from high-risk collision areas such as airports. Scientists have investigated the new algorithm on the basis of macroscopic properties of the flocking model and the response of the flock. The team from the two institutes tested
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Drones help with scientific research throwing ‘dragon eggs’ on active Volcanoes

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Volcano experts have used drones to throw specialist ‘dragon eggs’ onto active volcanoes to carry out further research. The so-called eggs are actually sensors which monitor real-time volcanic activity and record things like temperature, humidity, vibrations, and toxic gases, the Metro reports. They have been designed to be light enough to be carried by drone, have low energy consumption to last a long period of time and also to withstand extreme hot temperature. The eggs are placed, by drone, on the side of a volcano and ‘hatch’ when they detect movement caused by volcanic eruption. Dr Yannick Verbelen, a Research
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Topcon launches new design software to facilitate UAV inspection data

Topcon Positioning Group has unveiled new software designed to facilitate data processing workflow for UAV infrastructure inspection. Named Magnet Inspect, the software aims to efficiently manage large UAV data sets to create inspection reports. The software has been designed to allow operators to easily visually navigate UAV photos, aligning 3D reality meshes with raw geo-referenced images in one location and filtering them based on selected criteria. David Ahl, director of software product management, said: “Magnet Inspect will work with models from virtually any UAV. When combined with Intel Falcon 8+ Drone Topcon Edition and Topcon ContextCapture, the software enables operators
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Lockheed Martin launches drone competition with over £1.5m in prizes

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Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League (DRL) have announced an artificial technology (AI) innovation competition. The aerospace and defence company has teamed up with the DRL to challenge teams to develop AI technology that will enable an autonomous drone to race a pilot-operated drone, and win. Participating teams will compete in a series of challenges for their share of over £1.5m in prizes. Lockheed Martin chief technology officer Keoki Jackson announced the challenge at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, kicking off a multi-year partnership with DRL, the global professional circuit for drone racing. The AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge will enlist university
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UK start-up Skyports continues with global expansion

UK start-up Skyports has ramped up its activity in the US as it seeks to establish an international network of helipads for flying taxis and drone deliveries. Skyports has so far secured 15 rooftops in London as ‘vertipads’ for passenger and cargo drones, and is currently negotiating on further sites in the capital. The company has recently expanded into Finland and the US too. Duncan Walker, managing director at Skyports, said: “We have 15 in London and a number more under negotiation. We have started work on the east coast of the US and are working with a company in
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AeroVironment donates top tech to military training facility

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AeroVironment, a global provider of unmanned aircraft systems, has donated its UAV solutions to a military training facility. AeroVironment's MacCready Works lab has donated automated Quantix hybrid drones, spare parts and AeroVironment’s Decision Support System (AV DSS) analytics software to West Point to support the military academy’s centre for innovation and engineering and geography and environmental engineering department. “MacCready Works is a focal point for AeroVironment’s continuous innovation, focusing on relentless problem solving and doing what has never been done before,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “We are fortunate
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World’s first drone team sport takes off in Birmingham this month

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Drone Combat has announced the launch of the world’s first drone team sport Flightball at Insomnia 63, the UK’s largest eGaming festival. Flightball is an aerial five-a-side football game, played with specially-protected drones and a floating ball. Trials and heats will culminate in an Open Tournament at Insomnia 63, held at the NEC in Birmingham 24-27 August 2018, with pilot recruiting to pave the way for a comprehensive 2019 World Championship. Interested pilots can sign up to play in The Flightball Arena on the day or in advance at flightballgame.com. “Drone use is usually a pretty solitary pastime,” commented CEO,
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