Colin Lecher
at 06:15 AM Feb 9 2013
Tech // 

If you want to fly more than a hobbyist's drone in the United States, you have to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. We've know for a while about some drones - the ones keeping an eye on the U.S.-Mexico border, for example - but this list of applications through October 2012, obtained and mapped by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is the most up-to-date look at domestic-drone permissions we've got.

Rebecca Boyle
at 06:29 AM Aug 15 2012
Tech // 

Self-piloted drones may be able to land or fly almost anywhere - even aircraft carriers - but they need some complex navigation skills to do it, including the somewhat existential ability to know where they are in the world. But this is difficult without some type of onboard relative positioning system. A new algorithmic project at MIT straps netbook computer parts to a specially designed, laser-equipped airplane that can find itself and navigate tight spaces safely.

Clay Dillow
at 08:39 AM Feb 9 2012

When European farmers turn their eyes skyward, they soon may have more than the weather to worry about. The more progressive aviation framework in Europe means that government monitors potentially have a new weapon in their arsenals - unmanned aerial drones - to enforce regulations, and they're starting with agriculture. EU regulators are exploring potential aerial systems that can help them spot farm subsidy cheats and violators of Common Agricultural Policy rules.

Rebecca Boyle
at 06:02 AM Feb 8 2012

The skies are going to look very different pretty soon, and it's been a long time coming. United States Congress finally passed a spending bill for their Federal Aviation Administration, allocating US$63.4 billion for modernising the country's air traffic control systems and expanding airspace for unmanned planes within three and a half years.

Rebecca Boyle
at 05:23 AM Jan 24 2012
Science // 

In pursuit of fleet-footed prey, the northern goshawk wings through thick forest canopies and underbrush at breakneck speeds, dipping and diving to avoid colliding with trees or other obstacles. But it can only go so fast, apparently obeying an unspoken speed limit dictated not by biology, but by the density of its environment - beyond a certain threshold, it is certain to crash into something. This is an important lesson for makers of drones and other flying objects, according to researchers at MIT and Harvard.

Clay Dillow
at 03:57 AM Sep 8 2011

The idea of small, man portable, soldier-launched aerial drones has been catching on for some time now with military operations commanders, as they bring the unique situational awareness and reconnaissance capabilities of larger drone aircraft down to the platoon--or even the individual--level. Now, the U.S. Army is taking the idea to the next level, ordering its first batch of weaponised drones capable of launching from small, portable tube and suicide bombing a target from above.

Rebecca Boyle
at 04:09 AM Aug 30 2011

This summer's crippling famine in Somalia, which has killed tens of thousands of people and led half a million more to seek refuge in Kenya, is notable for many reasons - but the theft and sale of life-saving aid is arguably one of the worst. A new project could be one way to prevent such atrocity in the future: Use drones to drop food and drugs right where they're needed, no human intervention required. Enter the Matternet.

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