Fly On Board With These Quadrotors Racing Through a Forest


The Phantom Menace has approximately one good scene: the bit where people race through canyons at high speed while people shoot at them. Although reality might not quite be up to jet engines and high-powered rifles quite yet, a group of quadrotor hobbyists have managed to replicate the first-person thrill of racing a… » 10/10/14 3:00am 10/10/14 3:00am

The Secret US Drone Program that Killed JFK's Eldest Brother

The Ryan Firebee is widely considered the first true UAV developed by the US military, however, it was far from their first attempt. Take Operation Aphrodite, which loaded B-17s with high explosives and remotely crashed them into enemy targets, for instance. This early UAV program wasn't just an abject failure, it may… » 8/15/14 11:40am 8/15/14 11:40am

20,400 Tons of Deliveries Later, the Pilotless K-Max Is Coming Home

Even though it's still officially a prototype transport system, the K-max unmanned delivery helicopter from Lockheed Martin and Kamen has become a workhorse for US Marine Corps But despite its strong showing throughout the War in Afghanistan, the future of this pilotless chopper remains uncertain. » 7/28/14 12:00pm 7/28/14 12:00pm

The Navy Has The Ultimate MH370 Search Tool, It's Just Not Operational

While the world is tied up in the mystery of what happened to Malaysian Air Flight 370, testers at Edwards AFB in south central California and at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland are hard at work developing the ultimate tool for solving such a mystery, the Northrop Grumman built MQ-4C Triton. » 3/18/14 5:18pm 3/18/14 5:18pm

The Military's Newest Drone Can Roam Up to 1800 Miles From Home

The rapid exit of US ground forces from Afghanistan has caused an unforseen problem for forces in the region: Afghanistan's most remote regions are suddenly out of range of our conventional turbo-prop UAVs, making CIA interdiction against the Taliban nearly impossible. But a new generation of jet-propelled Predator… » 2/24/14 11:40am 2/24/14 11:40am

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They… » 12/18/13 3:51pm 12/18/13 3:51pm

The Grey Eagle Drone Now Flies for Nearly Two Days Straight

The MQ-1 Predator UAV is one of America's most prolific and productive drones, having notched more than a million hours of flight time since its introduction in 1994. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for continued improvement to the platform. In fact, General Atomics has also been hard at work with a slightly… » 10/28/13 11:30am 10/28/13 11:30am

The Stealthy Barracuda UAV Is Germany's Future Flying Force

After the end of hostilities in WWII, France and Germany have become surprisingly close. The two nations are stalwart proponents of expanded European Union integration and are regularly referred to as the EU's "twin engine." But on the issue of unmanned aerial platform, the two simply cannot agree. So while France and… » 10/17/13 11:32am 10/17/13 11:32am

This Flying Bomb Failure Was America's WWI Cruise Missile

In 1915, nearly two decades after patenting the world's first radio-controlled boat, famed Serbian-America inventor Nicola Tesla imagined fleets of unmanned aerial combat vehicles being sent to war instead of pilots. Little did he know, the US Navy was already hard at work on that very same vision. » 9/04/13 12:00pm 9/04/13 12:00pm

The Ryan Firebee: Grandfather to the Modern UAV

America's fleet of surveillance and attack drones are far older than most people realize. While the unmanned platforms have certainly come into the spotlight since the start of the War on Terror, they've actually been dutifully getting shot out of the sky on behalf of our national interests since World War I. And one… » 8/27/13 11:30am 8/27/13 11:30am

The Robo Raven Is So Lifelike, It Fools Birdbrains

We've been trying to create robots that mimic natural bird-flight for years, but they've only ever achieved a crude imitation. This is largely because, unlike the robots, real birds can move their wings independently. But now, a research team from the Maryland Robotics Center has created the Robo Crow, a mechanical… » 6/10/13 4:47pm 6/10/13 4:47pm

How the Navy of the Future Will Find—And Destroy—Underwater Mines

You don't joke about mining important maritime trade routes—Iran did and nearly started WWIII. And while America's fleet of MH-53E Sea Dragons and Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships are still quite effective, they're getting really, really old. Both platforms entered service in the mid-1980s and are quickly… » 5/30/13 3:08pm 5/30/13 3:08pm