DARPA to Establish Code for Unmanned Aircraft to Fly without Supervision

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CODE program is offering the opportunity to participate in discussions to help develop groundbreaking software enabling unmanned aircraft to work together with minimal supervision.

The U.S. military’s investments in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proven invaluable for missions from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to tactical strike. Most of the current systems, however, require constant control by a dedicated pilot and sensor operator as well as a large number of analysts, all via telemetry.

View: DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment Program

These requirements severely limit the scalability and cost-effectiveness of UAS operations and pose operational challenges in dynamic, long-distance engagements with highly mobile targ...

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THE HIJACKING OF AMAZON DRONES POSSIBILITY

Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter

Not everyone is thrilled with the rise of civilian drones in American skies. Last week, after Amazon hyped its plan to deliver packages in half an hour via UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), we wondered about the drone backlash happening in many part of the U.S. And while an angry few threatened to shoot down these delivery drones, a more pressing concern seems to be: What if people try to hack them?

Just last week, security researcher Samy Kamkar made news after announcing he had modified his Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter to hunt and hijack other drones. Employing simple hardware including a Raspberry Pi computer and a wireless transmitter, plus software tools such as aircrack-ng and Kamkar’s own Skyjack, the pirate drone scans for nearby Parrot IP addresses...

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Drone Heavens: The Unmanned Aircraft Age Is Coming

It’s a quiet morning in San Francisco, with soft sunlight illuminating patches of thick fog billowing over the Golden Gate Bridge. A solitary unmanned aircraft—a 4-pound, battery-powered wedge of impact-resistant foam with a 54-inch wingspan, a single pusher-propeller in the rear, and a GoPro video camera attached to its body—quietly approaches the landmark.

Call them what you want—flying robots, unmanned aircraft, or drones are coming in swarms
Raphael “Trappy” Pirker controls the aircraft from a nearby hill. The bridge is within sight, but the 29-year-old enjoys the scenery through virtual-reality goggles strapped to his head...

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SUICIDE DRONE FROM IRAN

Iran has announced the first deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle built to crash into targets, which the media promptly called the “suicide drone.”

Okay, so it’s got a cool name. Is it really a threat? The answer to that depends on how it’s used—and where it’s aimed.

Mobile Bomb?

First, the specs. The new UAV, called the Raad in some Iranian press, is basically a clone of the Boeing-built ScanEagle surveillance drone—an unarmed UAV that earns its way onto the battlefield with its eyes, not its talons. The Iranian version provides overhead surveillance for 10 hours, officials there say, but they’re also calling the Raad a “mobile bomb” that can strike land and sea targets.

This is not the first armed drone, and not the most dangerous...

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DRUG DRONE CRASHES AT MEXICAN BORDER

Drug Drone Carrying Crystal Meth Crashes Near US-Mexico Border

Drones aren’t just military devices and hobbyist passions. As it turns out, cartels are using the unmanned aerial vehicles for a pretty insidious purpose: smuggling drugs high in the sky. And some of those drones crash down, as indicated by a drone crashing near the Mexico-California border, weighed down by six pounds of crystal meth. The drone was a DJI Spreading Wings s900.

In 2012, at least 150 drones were reported to make dashes for the border, drugs in tow, and they’ve also been used to smuggle drugs into prison. Drones are, currently, less traceable than, say, your typical drug mule, so it’s harder to tell who’s transporting those drugs, unless you find the recipient at the pickup sight...

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ROBOTIC DRONE SEES IN THE DEEPEST OF OCEANS FOR LIFE DOWN BELOW

THIS AUTOSUB DRONE SCANS THE DEEP OCEANS TO IDENTIFY LIVING THINGS IN THE OCEAN DEPTS

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Curious about what’s living on the deep sea floor? Well, the Autosub6000 AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) is helping us find out. Led by Dr. Kirsty Morris, a team at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has equipped one of the unmanned submarines with a high-resolution photographic system. As a result, it’s claimed to be far more effective at identifying deep-sea life than the usual approach of scientific trawling.

Previously developed by NOC engineers, the Autosub6000 autonomously travels untethered along preprogrammed deep-sea routes, continuously mapping the sea floor as it does so...

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How safe is your job in the age of robots and intelligent machines

Artificial intelligence will errode the humn work force

Rise of the machines: Most of today's jobs could eventually be performed by robots.

Rise of the machines: Most of today’s jobs could eventually be performed by robots.

It is a sobering thought that in ten years, around 65 per cent of the jobs that people will be doing have not even been thought of yet, according to the US Department of Labor.

In Australia, there are reports that up to half a million of existing jobs could be taken over by robotics or machines run by artificial intelligence.

So with smarter computers taking on more of the work that people currently do, we are left to wonder what jobs there might be left for us humans.

Could a robot do your job?

Almost any job that can be described as a “process” could be done by a computer, whether that computer is housed in a robot or embedded somewhere out of ...

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Earth from Space: NASA 15 Amazing Things in 15 Years. Enjoy this journey.

NASA and other space agencies had launched satellites to study Earth before. But the past 15 years have produced a more comprehensive look at Earth from space than any other period in history. At a time when our planet is undergoing critically important changes, this global view offers not only stunning imagery but also vitally important information about how Earth is changing.

earth_rotating_lg_blk image www.spy-drones.com

To celebrate 15 successful years of the Earth Observing System, we’ve collected 15 impressive, awe-inducing or simply just plain interesting images gathered by NASA’s three flagship Earth orbiters since the Terra launch.

Enjoy. And here’s to the next 15.

1. Blue Marble 2002

Taking a full photograph of Earth from space takes some doing...

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TIME LAPSE VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY OVER 6 MONTHS IN SPACE SHOWS IT ALL TO YOU HERE IN 6 MINUTES

During his six-month “Blue Dot” mission on the International Space Station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst would often leave his camera running while he worked and did experiments.

He shared many of the resulting images during his journey, which turned him into something of a social media celebrity – Twitter’s introduction to the awe-inspiring views of space travel.

Now back on Earth, Gerst has released a six-minute timelapse made up of some of the best shots from his ISS tenure. The video includes auroras, clouds, stars, oceans, lit-up cities, lightning and glimpses of both the ISS and other spacecraft.

This image shows the boot of Italy with Sicily at its toe, spread across this panorama taken on October 21 by astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station. Photo: N...

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HERE IS WHAT THE SUN LOOKS LIKE UNDER THE NEW XRAY TELESCOPE FROM NASA

NuStar, NASA’s newest x-ray telescope, has returned its first startling image of the sun. image www.spy-drones.com

NuStar, NASA’s newest x-ray telescope, has returned its first startling image of the sun.

The telescope was built to spot black holes and other distant and dark stellar objects. This is the first time the spacecraft has trained its eyes on our own sun. It’s a kind of out-there idea hatched in the early days of the mission, when scientists realized NuStar’s powerful instruments might be able to see new details in our star. Because NuStar senses x-rays, they could turn it toward the sun without hurting the instruments.

NuStar already has given insights into temperature fluctuations above sunspots. It may also be able to capture theorized nanoflares in action...

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NASA FUNDS LOCKHEED TO DESIGN A SUPERSONIC DRONE FOR THE AIR FORCE.

NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a modest $892,292 earlier this month to study the feasibility of developing an unmanned hypersonic spy plane called the SR-72. This superfast recon drone, first teased in November 2013, would fly at speeds of Mach 6.0, or 4,500 mph. That’s almost double the speed of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which made its first flight 50 years ago.

Image: Artist's rendering shows Lockheed Martin's planned SR-72 twin-engine jet aircraft

Neither Lockheed Martin Skunk Works nor NASA Glenn Research Center officials are talking about the recent award. But a Lockheed Martin website notes that the company has been working with Aerojet Rocketdyne to find a way to integrate a turbine engine, which would get the plane up to Mach 3, with a supersonic ramjet engine, or scramjet, to push it to Mach 6.

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Scramjets are, structurally at least, pretty simple...

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Robot ‘Athena’ flies to Germany as airline passenger from Los Angeles

Herzog, a doctoral student at Max Planck Society, pushes 'Athena', the first 'humanoid' robot to fly as a passenger, as  they arrive at Los Angeles International Airport

(Reuters) – A humanoid robot with a head, hands and feet and wearing stylish red sneakers boarded a flight for Germany at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, becoming what was billed as the first robot traveling as a paid passenger on an airline.

The robot, named Athena, created a scene at the Tom Bradley International Terminal as she was pushed in a wheelchair up to the Lufthansa counter to pick up her ticket to Frankfurt. Television crews swarmed, camera flashes went off and people aimed their cell-phone cameras at her, exclaiming: “It’s a robot!”

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Built by the Salt Lake City engineering and robotics company Sarcos, Athena was purchased by Germany’s Max Planck Society, which along with researchers at the University of Southern California are trying to make her perform ...

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