UAVs

  • 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

  • “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

  • Tiny Barebones Quadrocopter Is Adorable And I Want One

    Tiny Barebones Quadrocopter Is Adorable And I Want One

    We’ve always liked the Parrot AR Drone quadrocopter, and of course the four-rotor layout is gaining popularity among robocists everywhere — but this is something totally new. Weighing in at just 20 grams (that’s only slightly more than DARPA’s hummingbot), it’s basically just a PCB with rotors on it — and with the telemetry being handled off-device… Read More

  • When The Drones Come Marching In

    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

  • Boeing gets in on the drone action with the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye

    Boeing gets in on the drone action with the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye

    What’s with the ominous names for these things? You’ve got the Predator, the Taranis, the EATR, and now the Phantom Eye? I guess there’s a bit of psychological warfare going on there. You don’t want the enemy to look up and say “Maybe we shouldn’t… what if there’s a Model BAE-2455G up there somewhere?” So when Boeing unveiled their new… Read More

  • UAVs can do more than kill without compunction?

    UAVs can do more than kill without compunction?

    And here I thought that these drones were born to kill. In fact, they’re being put to good use, and such as the ones they’ve got cruising in the ocean, or these, which they’ve deployed to help combat wildfires. The drones can go into dangerously smoky areas and use IR cameras to point out hot spots for firefighters — man and machine working alongside one another… Read More

  • Killercopter UAV snipes you with onboard .338 precision rifle

    Killercopter UAV snipes you with onboard .338 precision rifle

    Not terrifying at all! And of course, it’s flown with a modified Xbox 360 controller. How do they expect to get headshots with that? Mouse and keyboard, baby. But I digress. This robocalyptic aerial hunter-killer is 26ft long, goes 117mph, and can carry a payload of 150lb. That means it can carry a sniper rifle and a hugbot. Read More