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Canadian company Aeron Labs has sold an Aeryon Scout to the Libyan rebels for an undisclosed amount. This quadroter drone can be set up with a pre planned flight path, or you can just touch the touchscreen to tell it where to go.
The particular version the rebels received also has a thermal imaging camera, allowing the drone to see at night.
Aeryon Labs states:
While NATO countries fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) high above Libya, none of these UAVs, or the vital intelligence they provide, was available to the Libyans fighting to free their country – they were fighting blind. So, they got one of their own. The Libyan rebels have been using the Aeryon Scout Micro UAV to acquire intelligence on enemy positions and to coordinate their resistance efforts. This video gives sample photos and video from both the Scout’s daylight and thermal payloads.
According to Wired, Aeryon Labs worked with private security firm Zariba and had the drone hand delivered by Charles Barlow, who runs Zariba. Charles states he spent no more than 24 hours training the rebels how to use the Aeryon Scout.
Specifically, the researchers are tracking Adelie Penguins to see why there numbers are dropping rapidly. Climate change is one reason the penguin population is declining. Another reason could be that the krill they eat is not so plentiful.
Adelie Penguins live only on Antartica and surrounding ice flows and primarily eat krill along with some fish. Leopard seals are there primary predators.
A specific pair of adult penguins are selected and one of them has a transmitter carefully placed on their back that will later naturally come off during the molt cycle. The transmitter and penguins are followed and plotted in Google Earth.
Then the researchers plot a course for the robot gliders. In this case they use either Remus AUVs or Slocum Electric Gliders (shown here). The Coastal Ocean Observation Lab or COOL has a history of using these gliders and in 2009 sent the Scarlet Knight glider all the way to Spain from New Jersey.
The gliders can travel vast distances and move forward by shifting ballast and moving in a slow down and up motion while underwater. They then surface periodically to transmit their data back to home base. The gliders are able to better track the penguins and provide more information than just a transmitter attached to the penguins. Let’s hope the researchers with the help of the robots discover why the penguins are dying. Click through for a quick video of the adorable penguins.
Thanks to Caitlin for additional penguin information.
Bluefin Robotics, makers of AUV’s (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) was recently awarded a $30 million contract for HULS ( Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization Systems) by The Naval Surface Warfare Center.
David Kelly, president of Bluefin Robotics stated,
We are looking forward to the opportunity to leverage the work done on the HAUV and under our other underwater systems programs for this important U.S. Navy requirement,
Shown here is Bluefin Robotics’s HAUV 2 person portable hull inspection robot. The company will produce a version of this robot that has a manipulator arm for removing objects like mines or bombs. The current version of HAUV weighs 174 pounds and using a lithium polymer battery pack, can last for 3 1/2 hours at a time with a standard payload and no current in the water.
HAUV also has a fiber optic Ethernet tether for real time communications and imaging sonar. The battery pack and 4 gig memory card are easily swappable to keep the missions going when out in the field.
Berlin’s Free University have developed a robotic car that will come when you call it, called iDriver and called by an iPhone or iPad.
You can actually track the car’s position using your iPad. Once the autonomous taxi arrives, you can use the iPad to tell it where to go.
Sounds similar to Johnny Cab from the movie Total Recall
Click through for a video.