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Amazing Spycopter

Aeryon-ScoutFrom Aeryon Labs in Canada comes an amazing new quadrotor called Scout.  Scout weighs only around 1 kilogram and while carried disassembled, it quickly snaps together. Scout has a range of 3 kilometers, can travel up to 50 kilometers an hour and withstand 80 kilometer an hour gusts of wind.

Pre planned flight paths can be used or you can simply click on the map on the control screen and Scout will go to that location.

The payload area is easily swappable and you can put in either a video camera that can stream video to any device like an iPhone, or a thermal imaging camera.  Other payloads can be easily developed.

Click through for a video of Scout catching a bad guy in action using the video camera.

Update 8/24/11 – Libyan rebels get Aeryon Scout drone.

Link via (IEEE Spectrum) via  (Ubergizmo)

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Robotic Hummingbird

NanoAeroVironment, makers of many vehicles such as Helios and Global Observer, has now created the world’s first robotic hummingbird for DARPA. AeroEnvironment called the robot a Nano Air Vehicle during development and is now calling it a Nano Hummingbird. The robot has the following specs:

The hand-made prototype aircraft has a wingspan of 16 centimeters (6.5 inches) tip-to-tip and has a total flying weight of 19 grams (2/3 ounce), which is less than the weight of a common AA battery. This includes all the systems required for flight; batteries, motors, communications systems and video camera. The aircraft can be fitted with a removable body fairing, which is shaped to have the appearance of a real hummingbird. The aircraft is larger and heavier than an average hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird currently found in nature.

Check out the full AeroVironment press release.

Photo courtesy of AeroEnvironment.
Also, see our post from about a year and a half ago, when they were not quite done building Nano Hummingbird.

Click through for all the action in a video.

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Robotic Jetpack

Robot JetpackNew Zealand company The Martin Aircraft Company is now making a robotic jetpack.

The jetpack, called the Martin Skyhook UAV, can reach up to 10,000 feet and carry a payload of up to 220 pounds. The Skyhook also uses a 200 horsepower engine to create  a range of 31 miles and speeds as fast as 63 miles per hour.

The Martin Aircraft Company envisions military applications for the Skyhook, such as resupplying troops, or dropping bombs.

No, you can’t have one and jetpacks that us humans fly are hard enough to use.  Check out Rocketman to see a human fly a jetpack.

Click through for a video of the jetpack in action.

Link via (Fox News)
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Swarm Over Switzerland

SMAVNETThe SMAVNET or Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network is a project from the EFPL School of Engineering.

Basically a small swarm of flying robots are deployed, say in a disaster area.    The robots fly above, maintaining a rough shape and each robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi dongle, creating a large network for communications.

The flying robots also employee Zigbee and GPS to communicate with each other and for logging data.

Using ants and their search for food as inspiration, a type of swarm behavior has been developed.  Also, safety and collision avoidance have been thought of.

The critical issue of operational safety has been addressed by light-weight, low-inertia platform design and by implementing several security features in software. Among other things, we looked at mid-air collision avoidance using local communication links and negotiation of flight altitudes between robots. By providing a risk analysis for ground impact and mid-air collisions to the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA), we obtained an official authorization for beyond-line-of-sight swarm operation at our testing site.

Look out, the researchers have been officially been allowed to let the swarm out of their sight.  The robots are finally taking over.

Click through for a video.

Link via (Make)
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Flying Robotic Hands Or A Helicopter That Can Pick Up Objects

YAMA group of researchers led by Aaron Dollar from Yale University have developed an autonomous helicopter that can pick up objects.  Yale Aerial Manipulator as the robot is called, could be used in hard to reach places or for removing things like bombs.

The robotic helicopter can reach speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour and pick up objects weighing up to two kilograms. The robotic hand is made up of four fingers, made from lightweight plastic.

This seems like it could be good for search and rescue operations if outfitted with a camera.  It couldn’t pick up injured people, but could potentially bring them supplies like food and water until real help arrives.  Or it could be used for removing bombs from dangerous situations.

Click through for a video demonstration.

Link via (Technology Review)
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