Innovation

Aurora Flight Sciences schedules first flight for solar-powered endurance drone

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Aurora Flight Sciences has revealed that its solar-powered endurance drone, Odysseus, will take to the skies for the first time next spring. Powered only by the sun, Odysseus is an ultra-long endurance, high-altitude platform built for persistence. The device utilises advanced solar cells and is built with lightweight materials, technology the company claims could make Odysseus effectively fly for months on end. The project was organised and led by Aurora president and CEO John Langford, alongside other MIT colleagues. Commenting on the news, Langford said: “Aurora was founded by the idea that technology and innovation can provide powerful solutions to
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VIDEO: Students design drone device as high-rise fire rescue aid

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A group of six students has designed a high altitude self-driven UAV to help with fire rescue missions. The team, located in Guangzhou, China, is hoping the creation can rescue people who are trapped in high-rise buildings. The drone would be programmed so when receiving a distress signal, it uses GPS to pinpoint the location of the fire and subsequently travels at high altitude to reach the scene of the emergency. Then, on approach, it unfolds into four parts with a safety net at the centre which a person can jump into in order to save themselves. The power for
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Fluidity Technologies’ new flight controller to heighten pilot precision

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Fluidity Technologies has designed a drone controller in order to help pilots improve their imaging quality and increase flight precision. Targeted at commercial experts and hobbyists alike, the FT Aviator drone controller was designed by a former NASA astronaut, pilot and physician. Claimed to be the first of its kind, the single-handed controller was conceptualised by Scott Parazynski who wanted to address the challenges UAV pilots face daily and make their work easier. Parazynski, founder and CEO at the firm, said: “Working with everything from the Space Shuttle robotic arm to surgical robotics in labs I found controllers clunky, inaccurate
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Ural launches world’s first motorcycle with built-in drone

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The world’s first ever motorcycle featuring a built-in drone has been announced by Ural Motorcycles. Named the Ural Air, the bike can launch a radio-controlled aircraft from a sidecar compartment. Ural has incorporated the DJI Spark Remote Combo in a bid to help riders tackle demanding driving conditions. According to a report from the British Motorcycle Federation, the drone is released from a hatch and can be operated by the sidecar passenger from a hard-mounted remote control. The compartment, designed by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, also features a USB port and a selfie stick. The Ural Motorcycles website claims that the
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Forbes predicts further consolidation for commercial drone industry

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A leading expert in UAV analysis has warned that further consolidation is on the horizon for the drone industry, which could force a wave of mergers and bankruptcies in the sector following the sale of the assets of Airware earlier this week. Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis at Teal Group, said that the end of Airware, one of the most promising venture-capital funded startups highlighted the ‘looming’ consolidation ahead, in an article written for Forbes. Airware unexpectedly shut down last month, leaving around 120 employees without jobs after the startup’s £92m in funding dried up. Supplier of commercial drone
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Amazon opens Manchester office as part of Prime Air expansion

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Amazon has announced that it is to open a new office in Manchester along with the expansion of its two other UK-based centres. This expansion in the UK will create 1,000 new research and development roles. The US tech giant confirmed that as part of the move the new engineers will be working on its drone delivery project, Prime Air. Prime Air is a service that, once fully implemented, will allow Amazon to deliver packages by drone to its customers within 30 minutes of receiving an order. Amazon has said that as part of the development process it is currently
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Epson prepares popular ‘print academy’ to showcase AR smart glasses for drone photography

Epson is preparing to host its popular ‘print academy’ to showcase AR smart glasses for drone photography. The event will be part of the upcoming PhotoPlus Expo show in New York City. During the show, Epson will showcase its Moverio augmented reality smart glasses and the new Drone Soar app, discussing the benefits for usage in the drone photography market. Exhibitors will then get a chance to demo the new Epson Drone Soar app, the first full-featured AR app for DJI drone pilots that hopes to revolutionise how photographers fly drones. The Expo at the Javits Convention Centre will run
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VIDEO: UAVOS successfully completes ApusDuo flight testing

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UAVOS has successfully completed the first stage of the flight tests of the 10-meter prototype of the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) ApusDuo. The 28m wide ApusDuo was manufactured as part of the development program of ApusDuo solar aircraft. The prototype was made for testing control algorithms, including take-off and landing and full-scale verification of HAPS aerodynamics. UAVOS, which has recently raised a round of finance from private investors in order to enhance its R&D, aims to reduce the go-to-market time for new solutions. Watch the video from flight testing here: https://youtu.be/eBxWUZUXCKQ
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UK University announces world leading professorship in autonomous systems and AI

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Cranfield University in Bedford has announced plans for a world-leading professorship in autonomous systems and AI. The professorship will be a research leadership role at the University, bringing together research in UAV’s, space and artificial intelligence. The role will be sponsored by BAE Systems, a technology leader in this field. Julia Sutcliffe, chief technology officer at BAE Systems Air, said: “Autonomous systems and artificial intelligence have the potential to provide a substantial positive impact upon product, service, and industrial capabilities.” She added: “This prestigious appointment, in a growing and highly disruptive field, will enable BAE Systems to exploit the latest
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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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