Monthly Archives January 2015

DARPA to Establish Code for Unmanned Aircraft to Fly without Supervision


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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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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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 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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The Autosub6000 returns from the deep

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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