Drones News - Page 1
The US Air Force is pushing for a $6 billion investment in the construction of a fleet of more than 2,000 Valkyrie drones following a first-of-its-kind flight test.
It was only earlier this month that Colonel Tucker Hamilton, the chief of the Department of Air Force's AI Test and Operations accelerator, announced the US Air Force successfully completed a three-hour flight test of its XQ-58A Valkyrie, a 28-foot-long experimental, stealth-focussed unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
Following the test, the US Air Force is asking for $6 billion to build a fleet of up to 2,000 Valkyrie aircrafts, with each aircraft costing an estimated $3 million, which is much cheaper than a human-operated F-35 or F-22 fighter jets.
A team of researchers has designed a drone that they claim can stay airborne "forever", according to a recent report from The South China Morning Post.
The team of researchers is from Northwestern Polytechnical University located in China, and according to reports, the team has designed a drone that uses high-energy laser systems to continuously charges its battery. Engineers outfitted the drone with a photoelectric conversion module which converts light energy into electricity that is then fed into the drone's battery pack.
Typically, laser systems are used to zap drones out of the air, but this system would essentially be the opposite as laser systems would be able to lock onto the drone and keep it charged from a great distance. In order to put the drone and the laser system to the test, the team of researchers developed an algorithm specifically designed to track the drone, and after performing tests, the team reported the laser system was able to effectively track the drone across various environments, lighting conditions and weather conditions.
Clark County Sheriff-elect Kevin McMahill sees a future where drones are able to reach a location to record crimes anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley. McMahill becomes county sheriff in January, with the police strategy expected to be implemented as soon as possible.
The sheriff's department has located almost a dozen "chronic hot spots" responsible for around 75% of crime in the area - and the drones can be activated to fly directly to any ShotSpotter alert within a minute. This would provide photographs and videos of criminal activity, while also giving local law enforcement insight into the incident.
This type of surveillance may reduce officer-involved shootings, identify and locate suspects, and keep officers safe while on patrol. Of course, there will be some backlash over such a program, with people questioning how much additional surveillance is saved - or shared - for future investigations.
Tech giant IBM expects its autonomous ship artificial intelligence technology used by commercial and research ships one day. The software is able to optimize decision-making by simulating different alternative choices and identifying possible issues while a ship is on the ocean.
Earlier in 2022, the unmanned Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) traveled 3,500 unmanned miles from Plymouth, United Kingdom to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Atlantic Ocean crossing took 40 days and featured no human ship captain or onboard crew as it made the journey.
Since naval companies tend to be slower to newer trends, fully autonomous ships probably won't happen for quite some time - but an AI-powered first officer might prove useful. The majority of marine accidents tend to involve human error, so autonomous software might be able to help a human captain make critical decisions.
Lockheed Martin and Verizon Wireless are working to help the Department of Defense fly 5G-enabled drones to capture intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data. It's a curious endeavor because it shows large amounts of data can be sent over 5G short range distances and is valuable to military operations.
Verizon and Lockheed held an early demonstration last spring in Colorado, then had two follow-up private tests earlier this month. Additional tests are expected to take place in 2023, while the companies continue to develop 5G.MIL capabilities.
The companies want to provide timely, accurate and secure data that can be used to react to emerging threats while using rapid decision making. The advanced commercial technologies and military capabilities were initially demonstrated through Verizon's private network.
It's no secret the US military is interested in adding newer autonomous aircraft to the current fleet, as analysts argue how much longer manned fighter jets will be required. Even though humans will still hop into aircraft cockpits for the foreseeable future, there have been continuous breakthroughs in autonomous aviation.
During the recent Air and Space Forces Association's Air, Space & Cyber conference, there was clear emphasis on unmanned systems and drone technology which don't require human pilots. There is plenty of opportunity for autonomous aircraft and manned aircraft to work together, so the US military has a full assortment of attack and reconnaissance capabilities.
Autonomous aircraft remain a major military objective, especially as the US government thinks about potential contested engagements against China or Russia, priority peer adversaries. Securing funding and building next-generation aircraft - along with training human pilots to fly these machines - is not a fast or easy task.
The Spanish National Police released footage from the seizure on July 4th, 2022.
A 14-month investigation has resulted in the arrest of eight people across Spain; in Cadiz, Malaga, and Barcelona. Spanish police confiscated three large underwater drones used for smuggling drugs from Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow strip of the sea only 13 kilometers (8 miles) wide, separating Morocco from Spain. It is the first discovery by the Spanish police of remotely-operable submersible vehicles.
Only one of the submersible drones was fully built, with the other two still being constructed by the gang operating them, which are believed to have been intended for delivery to a French gang. Each submersible can allegedly transport up to 200 kilograms (441 pounds) of cargo. The police also seized six "large aerial drones," rounding out 13 different vehicle types found in the gang's possession.
The Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in the Rostov Oblast of Russia was struck by a drone, potentially of Ukrainian origin, on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the supposed attack. However, it has been using drones throughout its ongoing conflict with Russia, notably, 'suicide' drone models like the Switchblade have been sent to the country by the United States. The governor of the Rostov region, Vasily Golubev, confirmed the incident and noted that the remains of two drones had been found in the territory of the Novoshakhtinsk refinery.
Oil refinery workers captured the drone's approach and impact on video, with one asking "do you think it's Ukrainian?" and another responding with "of course not." The Rostov Oblast borders with Ukraine, but Russia has not admitted to any incidents of conflict crossing into its territories. According to The Guardian, no one was injured in the explosion at the refinery.
An upcoming drone developed by Draganfly, known as the Commander, will be used to monitor public health.
The Draganfly Commander is a quadcopter drone with software that allows it to assess whether individuals are maintaining social distance and detect whether they are wearing masks. It can recognize when an individual is sneezing or coughing, and temperature sensing abilities allow it to determine when someone has a fever. It can even determine people's heart and breathing rates.
The Commander is powered by two redundant smart batteries and can take advantage of replaceable payloads to complete various missions requiring high-resolution photography. It can be used for surveying, industrial inspection, 3D mapping, search and rescue, and more.
Plans for the taser-equipped drone were being developed by Axon, formerly known as TASER International.
Axon announced on Monday, June 6th it was halting its plans for a taser-equipped drone after nine members of its artificial intelligence ethics board resigned, remarking they had "lost faith in Axon's ability to be a responsible partner." Axon announced last week they were working on drones that would be equipped with the company's Tasers and fly in schools to "help prevent the next Uvalde, Sandy Hook, or Columbine."
Eight board members voted against Axon moving ahead with the creation of a Taser drone, with four in favor, with the majority citing concerns over weaponized drones being used in already over-policed areas. Following the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Axon publicly announced the drone's development.