• 3D Robotics Raises $30 Million To Legitimize Aerial Drones For Business

    3D Robotics Raises $30 Million To Legitimize Aerial Drones For Business

    The very mention of the word “drone” often conjures up images of autonomous machines cruising over battlefields, but that’s far from the future 3D Robotics has in store for its own aerial machines. And thanks a recent infusion of capital, that future may be closer than you think. 3D Robotics announced earlier today that it locked up a $30 million Series B round, with a list… Read More

  • 300ft Drone-Powered Hack Foresees A Future Stuffed With Eye-In-The-Sky All-Seeing Apps

    300ft Drone-Powered Hack Foresees A Future Stuffed With Eye-In-The-Sky All-Seeing Apps

    Hackathon hacks can lead to fully fledged apps and companies. Other times they are intended to be nothing more than a great hack. 300ft is certainly that: a neat hack, built overnight at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF hackathon, which pulls in “close to live” aerial imaging from UAVs (aka drones) so the user can check how busy a prospective outdoor leisure location is before heading out. Read More

  • Hex Airbot Shatters Crowdfunding Goal For Its Cheap, 3D Printed Drones

    Hex Airbot Shatters Crowdfunding Goal For Its Cheap, 3D Printed Drones

    Hex’s tiny Airbot drone first turned heads earlier this year at China-based hardware accelerator Haxlr8r’s second demo day, and now the team behind it is finally pushing to bring the inexpensive flier to market by way of a recent-launched Kickstarter campaign. Read More

  • Indian Startup Uses Drones To Drop Aid In Flood-Ravaged Areas

    Indian Startup Uses Drones To Drop Aid In Flood-Ravaged Areas

    Drones don’t have the best reputation on the subcontinent and in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, sandwiched between war-torn regions of Pakistan, Kashmir, and Nepal, villagers no doubt harbour suspicions of the remote-controlled flying beasts. However, local startup Social Drones is using its home-grown arsenal of bi, quad, and octo copters for good, surveying the effects of a… Read More

  • Defense Experts Warn Of Cheap Enemy Drones On The Battlefield

    Defense Experts Warn Of Cheap Enemy Drones On The Battlefield

    While many current drone programs are extremely complex – and costly – cheap drones used for spying, mapping, and even attacks could turn the tables on world militaries by giving terrorists and less well-funded groups access to UAV technology. Read More

  • DARPA Builds A 1.8-Gigapixel Camera That Can Spot Six-Inch Targets From 20,000 Feet

    DARPA has released more details on the ARGUS-IS, a 1.8-gigapixel camera that will be attached to unmanned drones to spot targets as small as six inches at an altitude of 20,000 feet. The camera – which is one of the highest resolution systems in the world – can view ten square miles of terrain at a time and zoom in on targets with surprising clarity. Read More

  • Enter The Dronenet

    Enter The Dronenet

    Here’s my favorite Big Idea of the year so far, via John Robb, who’s always worth your attention: The Dronenet, a “short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol.” He fleshes it out in a series of posts, but basically, it would be a network of drones that would carry things the same way the Internet carries data: in packets, over a series of multiple… Read More

  • Single-Click Double-Tap Murder

    Single-Click Double-Tap Murder

    Gun control is on many minds this week, but let’s not talk about guns. Let’s talk about drones. (With a reported 300 million guns in private hands in America already, it’s probably too late for gun control anyhow.) Drones are to nation-states what assault rifles are to psychotic mass murderers. Worse yet, the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time until… Read More

  • Interview: John Robb

    Interview: John Robb

    John Robb is an astronautical engineer turned US Air Force Special Operations pilot turned Forrester lead analyst turned startup CTO/COO turned military theorist and author, to oversimplify. His writing has heavily influenced my own (eg you’ll find his phrase “open source insurgency” several times in my novel Swarm.) He blogs at Global Guerrillas and edits Resilient… Read More

  • I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    Allow me just a little self-congratulatory chest-beating. Four years ago I started writing a near-fiction thriller about the risks of swarms of UAVs in the wrong hands. Everyone I talked to back then (including my agent, alas) thought the subject was implausible, even silly. Well, it’s not like I’m the next Vernor Vinge — it always seemed like a pretty blatantly obvious… Read More

  • Video: Japan’s Defense Ministry Develops Awesome Ball-Shaped Drone

    Video: Japan’s Defense Ministry Develops Awesome Ball-Shaped Drone

    The world got a first glimpse of the “world’s first spherical flying machine” back in June this year, but its maker, Japan’s Ministry of Defense, decided it’s time to showcase it publicly a few days ago in Tokyo. And as you can see in the video embedded below, their ball drone is pretty awesome. The drone can stand still in mid-air, fly vertically and… Read More

  • “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    I feel uncomfortably like a prophet. In January, and again last week, I wrote about the prospect of UAVs used as weapons by terrorists; yesterday a man was arrested who “planned to attack the Pentagon using ‘small drone airplanes’ filled with explosives and guided by GPS.” In August I wrote about omnipresent mobile phones turning the world into a panopticon… Read More

  • Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Have you been watching the skies? I have. As the US expands its unmanned air force, researchers are testing and demonstrating autonomous drones — ones that could “hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.” (According to the author of the wonderfully-titled Army-funded study Governing Lethal Behavior in… Read More

  • Video: Lockheed’s “Samarai” Drone Spins Like A Maple Seed

    Video: Lockheed’s “Samarai” Drone Spins Like A Maple Seed

    Anyone who lives near a deciduous forest knows the joy of the maple seed, or as we called them when we were kids, helicopters. Their single wing spins the seed, slowing its descent — so why shouldn’t a similarly-designed wing be able to spin faster and actually fly upwards? Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a new drone platform, not quite a nano air vehicle but still simple and… Read More

  • Japanese Robo-Drone Will Interrogate Your Leia

    This odd robot, made of spare parts, has more in common with the IT-O than anything of this world. It can float around for 8 minutes on one charge and goes 40 miles an hour. Plus it’s a unique form factor for this sort of RC drone, making it a real one of a kind. Add some spinning blades and an arc blaster and you’ve got a party. Read More

  • When The Drones Come Marching In

    Way back in the 1970s, hardware-hacker hobbyists built kit computers like the Altair 8800 — and in doing so paved the way for the computer revolution that would reshape every facet of modern life. Today the same breed of people are building and selling kit flight controllers for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Just sayin’. Drones are far from new: the US military has been using… Read More

  • Cyber-Cute Overload: Quadrocopter Drone Has Its Own Little Home

    Oh no! I’ve been wrong all this time! The Robocalypse won’t be a sudden proliferation of hunter-killers and corpse-eating tanks — it’s going to be a Cutezkrieg! Japan will be, I am afraid, the first to fall. They are already a slave to the kawaii. This little bugger is called the Scandicraft, and it lives in that mailbox until there is a perimeter breach, at which point… Read More

  • Those drones you use in Modern Warfare 2? They could be illegal in real life.

    You know all those drones you kids use to rain grim death upon your unfortunate friends in Modern Warfare 2? Well, according to an American University law professor’s Congressional testimony, they may be illegal under international law. Of course, they could be totally fine, too, it’s just that nobody really knows for sure. That’s probably not what the U.S. military wants… Read More

  • Things That Can Kill You In the Ocean, Part XII: Sea Drones

    So you’re in a submarine, safe beneath the ocean waves. You’re pretty safe, right? Wrong. Apparently DARPA is working on Sea Drones that will follow ships and subs as they make their way across the briny deep, reporting positions and potentially going boom-boom if they feel like it. It’s all concept right now, but it’s pretty compelling. Read More

  • Why the Predator drone encryption doesn't matter

    Bruce Schneier wrote a great piece on the unencrypted Predator drone video feeds, noting that the drones were built for a post-Soviet, pre-insurgent era and that encryption, in the case of a live feed, is more of a problem than a threat. Read More