Autonomous Flatcars Could Help Drones Deliver Goods

By Bill Stephens | May 17, 2018 8:40 am
(Credit: Cambridge Research & Development)

Patent drawing from Cambridge Research & Development for an autonomous, battery-powered, drone-toting, delivery flatcar. (Credit: Cambridge Research & Development)

A research company is seeking funding to build a prototype autonomous, battery-powered flatcar that would serve as a platform for package-delivery drones.

Cambridge Research & Development in New Hampshire has applied for a patent for the concept. The vehicle, Cambridge founder and CEO Ken Steinberg says, could carry and deliver freight or serve as a moving platform for autonomous package-delivery drones. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

Robotic Insect Finally Flies Wirelessly

By Lauren Sigfusson | May 16, 2018 1:25 pm
(Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington)

Thanks to lasers, this little robot finally lost its umbilical cord. (Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington)

We’ve seen robot insects fly, land and even swim. But they weren’t doing that all by themselves. Until now, a tether of wires held them back.

A group of researchers from the University of Washington made the first wirelessly powered robotic insect. The bot, called RoboFly, weighs just 190 mg — it’s barely heavier than a toothpick and just slightly larger than a real fly. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: bioinspired, drones, robots

US Program Aims to Open Airspace to More Drones

By Lauren Sigfusson | May 15, 2018 3:47 pm
(Credit: Shutterstock)

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Many stories about drones are sensationalized. It’s easy to use broad language that gives the impression that drones will soon be zooming over us delivering goods. That’s not true.

Now that I’ve beaten down your dreams, let me build you up just a little bit. A new program in the United States could actually lead to a life where drones drop medicine at your doorstep and are border patrol agents. Just not in the next year or two, or three, for that matter. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

Drones Defy Commands During Light Show, Still Break Record

By Lauren Sigfusson | May 3, 2018 2:13 pm

Some of the drones just didn’t feel like dancing in formation. (Beijing News/YouTube)

Drones have flown over blowholes and detected heartbeats from the sky. They’re also good entertainers.

Ehang, Chinese drone manufacturer known for its autonomous flying taxi, flew 1,374 drones over the Xi’an City Wall. The company reclaimed the Guinness World Record for the “most number of unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.” Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drones

Your Next Pilot Could Be Drone Software

By Jeremy Straub, North Dakota State University | April 18, 2018 1:56 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Would you get on a plane that didn’t have a human pilot in the cockpit? Half of air travelers surveyed in 2017 said they would not, even if the ticket was cheaper. Modern pilots do such a good job that almost any air accident is big news, such as the Southwest engine disintegration on Tuesday.

But stories of pilot drunkenness, rants, fights and distraction, however rare, are reminders that pilots are only human. Not every plane can be flown by a disaster-averting pilot, like Southwest Capt. Tammie Jo Shults or Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. But software could change that, equipping every plane with an extremely experienced guidance system that is always learning more. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drones, transportation

The Fantastic Bionic Flying Fox

By Lauren Sigfusson | April 2, 2018 2:17 pm

Let’s just hope this robot flying fox be used for good … (Credit: Festo)

Flying foxes — also known as fruit bats — have an elastic membrane that stretches from their fingers (they also have thumbs) to their toes, making them incredibly aerodynamic and agile while flying. For the engineers at Festo, a German automation company, bats are the perfect specimen for bioinspired drones. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, robots

Future Cities Could Be Designed for Drone Delivery

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 23, 2018 2:09 pm

These could be the delivery drones of the future. (Credit: YouTube/Denzeen)

When you think of drone delivery, what comes to mind? Pizzas falling from the sky, crowded skies or maybe you just don’t think it’ll ever happen? No matter the case, a new video shows what a future with delivery drones might look like.

PriestmanGoode, an industrial design agency based in London, released the trailer for “Elevation” — a film of a drone delivery concept — at the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong earlier this week. The delivery system, called Dragonfly, is  seamlessly integrated into the cities of the future and serves as the main method of delivery. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

Drones Get Grabby With an Origami Arm

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 14, 2018 4:08 pm

(Credit: Kim et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaar2915 (2018))

We all know drones offer unique views from above, but give ‘em a hand and they can do a whole lot more. With a functioning arm they could better enter tight areas or lend a hand in gathering samples.

Taking inspiration from origami, a team of researchers from Seoul National University in Korea created a deployable arm that easily attaches to a drone and unfurls when needed. In the past, origami-inspired designs were limited because they aren’t exactly structurally sound. Researchers, however, found a way to make arms both fold-able and stiff. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized

Drones Aid in Penguin Mega-Colony Discovery

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 6, 2018 3:18 pm

Some Adélie penguin communities are holding strong despite a trend of decline. (Credit: Louisiana State University, Courtesy Michael Polito)

What’s black, white and always dressed to impress? A penguin! And scientists, with the help of drones and poop stains, recently discovered a mega-colony of these dapper animals.

The Adélie penguin population in the Antarctic continues to decline, particularly on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which some studies link to climate change. However, little is known about the population residing on the east side of the continent. After analyzing old satellite images, researchers saw signs of penguin guano that suggested there may be more penguins in the area than initially thought.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

A Drone Crashed into Apple Park … Oops

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 22, 2018 3:47 pm
drone- crash-apple-park-dji-phantom-video

Upside down, on top of a solar roof is not how you want a drone flight to end. Not at all. (Credit: Matthew Roberts/YouTube)

It turns out more than just Apple employees are crashing into the Apple campus. (Seriously, they’re running into its glass walls)

A drone pilot recently crashed a drone at Apple Park — Apple’s spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t know where the precious drone crash-landed, so he recruited a fellow drone operator to help. Matthew Roberts, known for his drone videos documenting the development of Apple Park, and his DJI Phantom 4 Pro came to the rescue. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drone, drone videos, gadgets


From studying wildlife to building drones that "think," unmanned vehicles are changing the ways scientists work and the questions they probe. Here at the Drone360 blog, we’re keeping tabs on the exciting ways drones are advancing science every day.

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