Drone-deployed sterile mosquitoes could check spread of insect-borne illnesses

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Team studies drone strikes on airplanes by firing them into a wall at 500 MPH

Bird strikes are a very real danger to planes in flight, and consequently aircraft are required to undergo bird strike testing — but what about drones? With UAV interference at airports on the rise, drone strike testing may soon be likewise mandatory, and if it’s anything like what these German researchers are doing, it’ll involve […]

This clever transforming robot flies and rolls on its rotating arms

There’s great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. Not the “Flying STAR,” which does both quite well, and through a mechanism so clever and simple you’ll wish you’d thought of it. Conceived by researchers at Ben-Gurion University […]

Mars helicopter bound for the Red Planet takes to the air for the first time

The Mars 2020 mission is on track for launch next year, and nesting inside the high-tech new rover heading that direction is a high-tech helicopter designed to fly in the planet’s nearly non-existent atmosphere. The actual aircraft that will fly on the Martian surface just took its first flight and its engineers are over the […]

Koala-sensing drone helps keep tabs on drop bear numbers

It’s obviously important to Australians to make sure their koala population is closely tracked — but how can you do so when the suckers live in forests and climb trees all the time? With drones and AI, of course. A new project from Queensland University of Technology combines some well-known techniques in a new way […]

That night, a forest flew: DroneSeed is planting trees from the air

Wildfires are consuming our forests and grasslands faster than we can replace them. It’s a vicious cycle of destruction and inadequate restoration rooted, so to speak, in decades of neglect of the institutions and technologies needed to keep these environments healthy. DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that aims to combat this growing problem with a […]

First ever drone-delivered kidney is no worse for wear

Drone delivery really only seems practical for two things: take-out and organ transplants. Both are relatively light and also extremely time sensitive. Well, experiments in flying a kidney around Baltimore in a refrigerated box have yielded positive results — which also seems promising for getting your pad thai to you in good kit. The test […]

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight

If we want drones to do our dirty work for us, they’re going to need to get pretty good at hauling stuff around. But due to the pesky yet unavoidable restraints of physics, it’s hard for them to muster the forces necessary to do so while airborne — so these drones brace themselves against the […]

DARPA wants new ideas for autonomous drone swarms

The Defense Department’s research wing is serious about putting drones into action, not just one by one but in coordinated swarms. The Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics program is kicking off its second “sprint,” a period of solicitation and rapid prototyping of systems based around a central theme. This spring sprint is all about “autonomy.” The idea […]

University of Michigan opens up its M-Air UAV testing facility to students

Companies and students who want to test an autonomous vehicle at the University of Michigan have the excellent Mcity simulated urban environment. But if you wanted to test a drone, your options were extremely limited — think “at night in a deserted lecture hall.” Not anymore: the school has just opened its M-Air facility, essentially a […]