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Drones


Analysis and insight on the future of drones. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends related to drones.

Drones Portray Flying Lampshades in Cirque du Soleil’s Short Film “Sparked”

The Flying Machine Arena is a drone wonderland. Researchers have used the sensored space to make quadcopters build structures with ropes and bricks, perform balancing acts, synchronize with music—they’ve even run tests allowing humans to...
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Crowdfunding Begins for Documentary Film Charting the Birth of Singularity University

Matt Rutherford, filmmaker and former producer of Charlie Rose, first met Salim Ismail at a birthday party in San Francisco. Over a beverage and some tech talk, the conversation turned to a new project...

3D Scanner Digitally Immortalizes Invaluable Masterpieces in Five Minutes Flat

Last year, the Smithsonian opened a virtual museum. With Smithsonian X 3D Explorer users can take a virtual tour of (and even 3D print) high-definition digital models of artifacts like Lincoln’s life mask or the...

Top 10 Reasons Drones Are Disruptive

If you think today's drones are interesting, you ain't seen nothing yet. Drones are in their deceptive phase, about to go disruptive. Check out where they're going... What makes today's "drones" possible? The billion-fold improvement we've seen...

Glimpse the Future at Singularity University’s GSP 2014 Closing Ceremony August 21

Join Singularity University August 21 at Mountain View's Computer History Museum for the 2014 Graduate Studies Program closing ceremony—a night of inspiration, impact, and exciting proposals for over 20 new startups aiming to tackle the world’s biggest...

Robots Able to Pick Peppers, Test Soil, and Prune Plants Aim To Replace Farm Workers

At the turn of the last century, nearly half of the American workforce was dedicated to agriculture. Industrial inventions like the steel plow had made farming easier, but it was still grueling labor performed...

Can Google Tango Make Off-the-Shelf Drones Autonomous?

Personal drones are all the rage. Though hobbyist RC helicopters and planes have been around for years, today’s multi-rotor vehicles are easier to pilot thanks to GPS and a suite of onboard chips and...

3D Printers and Drones — The Best Mash-up Since Peanut Butter and Chocolate?

Because one of the formulas for innovation is combining two useful technologies to see if the whole might be greater than the sum of its parts, it was only a matter of time before someone mounted a 3D printer to a drone. Mirko Kovac, an aerospace engineer at the Imperial College London, has done just that.

Drones Overhead, Seeing Everything, Always: Inside Google and Facebook’s Latest Acquisitions

Imagine a fleet of drones, overhead, out of sight, tens of thousands of feet in the sky. Imagine those drones being powered by sunlight -- effectively aerial satellites that are orbiting constantly, never having...

Will the Military Get a Flying Car Before the Rest of Us?

If you build things, you may well have a truck—but does it fly? The Advanced Tactics Black Knight Transformer does, and it took to the air for the first time recently. The Transformer is basically...

Singularity Surplus: Counting Coup and Calories

Military uses drones as mobile hotspots; sponge injection helps heal gunshot wounds; calorie-counting device questioned; robotic surgeon designed to operate in space.

First Balloons and Drones, Now Dirigibles: The Race for a Truly ‘World Wide’ Web

Facebook wants to be as cool as Google. Google wants to be the most innovative tech firm in history. Both are aiming to deliver internet access to the world’s offline billions—one with balloons, the...

Facebook Will Expand Global Internet Access And Reach With Drones and Satellites

Echoing Google's Project Loon, Facebook is now looking to connect those would-be users. Facebook will use drones, along with satellites and the emerging free-space optical communications protocol, to connect the unconnected.

Drones to Deliver Government Docs in the United Arab Emirates Next Year

Remember when Jeff Bezos said Amazon would deliver packages using drones at some point in the next few years? Bezos and Amazon may be beat to the punch by a government in the Middle...

Connecticut Car Crash Highlights Challenges in Regulating Civilian Drones

A fatal car crash in Hartford, Connecticut, would have been little more than a blip on local news programs but for one thing: The police spotted a drone flying around the accident. With the FAA actively trying to determine how to regulate the civilian use of drones, everything about the accident then became news. But, as an indication of how little the public understands the issues related to drones, news reports got most of it wrong.

AirDroids Markets a Pocket Drone for the Everyman

In a current Kickstarter campaign, the Southern California company AirDroids is offering plug-and-play book-sized drone, aptly named Pocket Drone, for a manageable $495.

2013 in Review: The Eight Biggest Stories In Exponential Tech

It’s been a fast-moving year, so before diving headlong into 2014, we thought we'd take stock and revisit some of the year’s most notable stories in exponential technology.

Amazon: Drones Could Deliver Orders in Half an Hour, But Feds Need To Allow It

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos boasted that his company would soon offer 30-minute delivery by drone in a feature called Prime Air. Justifiably or not, Bezos is very, very bullish on commercial drones. Just think, they are to trucks and planes what the Internet is to paper.

Matternet CEO Tells TED Global Internet of Drones Could Positively Impact a Billion

A billion people have no access to all-season roads. Over three billion live in cities or megacities. Quick access to goods faces either impassible mud or impenetrable gridlock. But Singularity University Labs startup, Matternet, has a plan. Speaking to an audience at TED Global last summer, co-founder and CEO, Andreas Raptopoulos said Matternet is “a new idea about a network for transportation that is based on the ideas of the internet.”

Drone Climbs Up Sewer Pipes to Perform Surveillance, Deliver Goods

The words robot and drone may conjure up images of a sleek, austere future, but some of the most compelling use cases for the machines involve situations that are too dangerous, or just plain messy, for a human to handle. To wit, two recent grads of the U.S. Air Force Academy have patented a drone that climbs into a building via the water or sewage pipes. The inventors, Kyle Fitle and David Carte, described the vehicle to the Washington Post as a way to facilitate communication between first responders and people trapped inside a compromised building.

Pizza Delivery From The Sky? Drone Distribution Networks Held Back By Regulators

I am waiting for my first pizza bomb but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration just won’t get out of the way. I read about it on the Internet – an enterprising Domino’s franchisee in...

Robot Fighter Jet X-47B Autonomously Lands on Aircraft Carrier

The Navy’s newest fighter is a high-tech batwing the size of an F/A 18 Super Hornet. The stealthy X-47B can carry 4,500 pounds of weapons at half mach speed, up to 40,000 feet, and over 2,400 miles. The aircraft lacks but one thing. A cockpit. The X-47B is a next-generation military drone. Unlike previous military drones, the X-47B is completely autonomous. And we’re not just talking the ability to fly simple missions from one airstrip to another. Recently, the X-47B landed on an aircraft carrier by algorithm alone. That’s something only elite fighter pilots have been able to do until now.

Terrafugia Flying Car Delayed Until at Least 2015, But Still Coming They Say

Is it a plane? Is it a car? Well, so far, a flying car prototype is the best answer—and a late one at that. Massachusetts firm, Terrafugia, has been promising delivery of the Transition for almost four years. The latest missed deadline? The end of 2012, and to date, still no Transition. As you’d expect, it’s hard to build a flying car.

Drones Close In On Farms, The Next Step In Precision Agriculture

Drones continue their steady approach into the different aspects of our lives. But while controversy rages over drone devastation over foreign soil and prying surveillance over US soil, experts are beginning to point our attention to the real future of unmanned aerial vehicles: farming.

Matternet Building Quadcopter Drone Network To Transport Supplies

Last summer, drones took to the skies over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. These flying bots weren’t on a military mission, nor were they conducting police surveillance. They belonged to audacious Singularity University Labs startup, Matternet. Matternet wants to leapfrog road infrastructure in developing countries by building a futuristic Pony Express—with drones.

Hunters In Louisiana Build Thermal Camera Carrying Drone to Hunt Hogs

Drones are notorious for their grim military and law enforcement uses. But as the cost of UAV technology has plummeted in recent years, non-government use of DIY drones is on the up and up. Take feral hogs, for example. Too wily for traps, wild pigs breed like rabbits and devastate crops. But there’s a drone for that. James Palmer and Cy Brown’s “Dehogaflier” Skywalker UAV conducts flyovers of local fields, peering through dense foliage in the dark with a FLIR thermal imaging camera to pinpoint marauding packs of pigs.

Drones Light Up London Night Sky – With Star Trek Logo

It’s not the Bat Signal, but if you’re a Star Trek fan, it’s even better. And if you’re a geeky Star Trek fan that’s really into cutting edge technology – that was deliberately redundant – you’re really going to love this.
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Boats, Planes And Automobiles – Today’s RCs Are Amazing

The RC world has come a long way since the lumbering vehicles I used to pilot when I was a kid. They couldn’t go very fast, but if need be, they could flex their...

Fearsome UK Robot Aircraft Is Semi-Autonomous and Will Fly in 2013

There’s a robotic arms race on. Aerospace firms in concert with defense agencies are upping the ante on airborne attack drones. Not to be outdone by its ally across the Atlantic, the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is said to be soon testing a superdrone called Taranis. The drone is designed to fly intercontinental missions at supersonic speeds, undected by radar—and almost completely free of human direction.

Toy-Size Helicopter Drones Now On Surveillance Duty In Afghanistan

A swarm of helicopter drones are being deployed to British soldiers in Afghanistan thanks to the UK's Ministry of Defence. Dubbed the PD-100 "Black Hornet" Personal Reconnaissance System, the Norwegian-developed drones are finding utility and praise among the Brigade Reconnaissance Force as they are being used by the British military to identify "insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing."

Drones Draw More Controversy As Berkeley Tries To Keep Them Out Of Their Skies

Rather than wait for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take action, Berkeley, California is attempting to take the lead and proclaim the sky above their city a ‘No Drone Zone.’

Automated Blackhawk Helicopter Completes First Flight Test

Does it seem believable that the wars of the future will be fought entirely with robots while humans are safely miles away, monitoring and controlling? The US military is certainly making a case for...

Spotted! Swarm Of Quadcopters Produce Eerie, Mesmerizing Lightshow In Night Sky

Colorful lights dancing in the night sky in synchronized motion would make any UFO enthusiast's heart skip a beat, but the fact that the crafts producing the mesmerizing lightshow are quadcopters doesn't make it...

Visions Of The Future: DR0NE, A Webseries About Autonomous Humanoid Soldiers

Consider, for a moment, the rising use of drone technology by the military. In light of how years of advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will transform drones, imagine how warfare will look in merely...

Dozens Of Underwater Drones Deployed To The Waters Of Iran

What to do when international talks begin falling apart? Send a fleet of unmanned submersibles in preparation for a waterway showdown. As US talks with Iran over their nuclear program began to sour and...
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PAL-V ONE – The Car-Plane That’s Easy To Fly And Cheap – We’re Kidding About The Cheap Part

Every kid – at least the ones that grow up and read sites like Singularity Hub – dreams of flying cars. Thankfully several companies are doing their best to make sure our Jetsonsonian flying...
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US Navy X-47B Robot Fighter Jet Completes First Phase Of Testing

The Navy's robotic fighter just got one step closer to earning its wings. The X-47B, an unmanned stealth attack jet, has completed the first major phase of flight testing on its way to become...
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Quadcopters Make 3D Scans Of Historic Buildings

Humans continue to make their lives easier with drones. Small-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are already chasing after wanton criminals, inspecting contaminated power plants, even bringing us our order of delicious tacos. Now researchers...

TacoCopter – Tacos Delivered Straight to Your Home With GPS Guided Quadcopters

Quadcopters plus tacos plus a delivery service equals a college student's dream, and with it, rampant speculation across the web. Around since last July, the TacoCopter website suddenly grabbed the web's attention days ago...
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The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 In Action

Just when you thought the Parrot AR.Drone was awesome, it gets awesomer. Parrot gave quadricopter enthusiasts a sneak peek at its new AR.Drone 2.0 at CES Las Vegas. Sporting new HD cameras it can...
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Flying Robots Rock the James Bond Theme Song to Amaze Onlookers at TED 2012

My confidence in humanity's superiority over robots has been shaken...but not stirred. Flying drones can play the James Bond theme song from the series of famous action films. In one of the most fun...
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The Era of Robotic Warfare Has Arrived – 30% of All US Military Aircraft are Drones

Some herald it as the cure for terrorism, others deride it as mindless video game warfare, but few doubt that the American era of drone warfare has arrived. From short range surveillance craft like...
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Dropping the F-BOMB, A Disposable Spy Computer Funded by DARPA

Attach a camera to a drone, fly the drone around the back of the house, locate the bad guys. Robotic UAVs are being used for surveillance by everyone from the military to local law...

Robotics Meets Architecture: 50 Quadcopters To Autonomously Build 20ft Tower

A new generation of architects is on the march. Leaving their rulers and compasses behind, these builders are trading in their blueprints for algorithms and putting the finer details of design in the hands...

Phenomenal Video Footage of Extreme Sports From RC Helicopters

There are spies in the skies, and they're trying to catch you doing something awesome. As remote controlled flying drones have become more sophisticated and stronger, they've opened up a new field of amateur...
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Parrot’s AR Drone Shows Off Its Skills in New York City (video)

There are dozens of cool accessories you can buy for your iPhone, but a flying robot spy with augmented reality has to be at the top of the list. Parrot's AR Drone is a...
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Could Quadrotor Robots Construct Buildings? (video)

What works in teams, can build any tower you design, and makes a horrifically angry buzzing sound? No, not super intelligent construction wasps. Quadrotors. UPenn's GRASP Lab has been experimenting with these autonomous aerial...

Breath-Taking Aerial Video of New York City – Taken by RC Plane!

Get ready for a view of New York that would make Spiderman jealous. Expert remote control pilot Raphael "Trappy" Pirker recently took his 54 inch Zephyr model plane on a harrowing tour of Manhattan...

MQ-9 Reaper is the Badass of Military Drones (video)

War is not a video game...but it's starting to look more and more like one. The prevalence of unmanned aerial vehicles in the US military has changed the landscape of war forever, and no...

Robots Guarding US Nuclear Stockpile (video)

Shouldn't the Terminator movies have taught us not to entrust our nuclear weapons to robots? Oh well. The US National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that it has started using autonomous robot vehicles to...

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