Boeing's X-36 Is the Single Coolest R/C Plane in the History of Aviation

Despite the mammoth budgets assigned to next-generation military aircraft programs, the Department of Defense is always looking for ways to streamline the development process and shave dollars from a combat system's bottom line. You'd think the DoD would take Boeing's lead and just build quarter-sized, remote… » 3/05/14 11:40am 3/05/14 11:40am

This 1924 Illustration Nails the Real Future of Drone Warfare

It's no secret that military drones predate the 21st century. But it's still amazing to see illustrations of unmanned aerial vehicles that are nearly a century old. Like this drone command center from 1924, with pilots sitting 500 miles away from the battlefield. It's an image that's strikingly similar to the drone… » 2/27/14 3:23pm 2/27/14 3:23pm

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

This Is Too Awesome: DARPA's Building Real Flying Transformers!

Between their remote locations and the ever present threat of ambush (or worse yet, IED), it's simply getting too dangerous to deliver the average 100,000 pounds of supplies that far-flung American forward combat bases require each week. Air drops by cargo plane or helicopter are one option, but DARPA researchers may… » 2/13/14 11:43am 2/13/14 11:43am

This New Naval UAV Is a "Blackjack"-of-All-Trades

Predator drones are very, very good at what they do, but $8 million will only get you about half of one. Doesn't matter which half, that guy ain't gonna to fly. Instead, the US Navy is investing in a smaller, lighter, more versatile recon drone. » 12/11/13 11:40am 12/11/13 11:40am

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 Unmanned Blimp Could Settle the Bigfoot Debate Once and For All

Does Sasquatch (or Sasquatches) really exist? That question has been hotly debated by the scientific community for decades. But now, one Idaho State University cryptozoological team is hoping to finally provide a definitive answer—using this autonomous blimp outfitted with NASA-quality photographic equipment. » 10/10/13 11:40am 10/10/13 11:40am

Boeing Designed and Built This Slick VTOL Drone In Just 27 Days

DARPA's always working on a bunch of crazy projects, whether it's to find the next insane robot hero, or just Star Wars robot arms. On their long list of wants is an unmanned "X-Plane" that can do vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) like the dope-ass F-35B. Boeing whipped up this slick contest entry in 27 days. » 9/14/13 4:03pm 9/14/13 4:03pm

Meet the Drone That's Guiding New Students Around MIT This Fall

Navigating a new campus is all part of the nostalgic movie montage that is freshman year of college. The changing leaves! The quaint Gothic architecture! The... drone tour guide? That’s the concept behind Skycall, a playful prototype that's designed to help visiting Harvard students find their way around MIT’s… » 9/11/13 5:20pm 9/11/13 5:20pm

Watch the Alps Fly By Underneath You in Just Five Seconds

The Alps stretch 750 miles across Europe with numerous peaks topping 13,000 feet. The stiff winds blowing through their passes makes an Alpine UAV crossing nearly as impossible as it was during the Second Punic War. But one plucky micro-drone has just achieved that feat, flying through the Alps in just 23 minutes. But… » 9/05/13 1:29pm 9/05/13 1:29pm

America's Kamikaze Drone Makes the Skies Way Less Friendly

Nothing excavates a dug-in enemy infantry position like a little artillery fire, but that's not always available. Sure, you could squeeze off a Javelin round or two but at $100,000 per shot, that's a pricey and cumbersome option. Instead, the US military has developed an ingenious firefight drone that can spot,… » 9/05/13 11:32am 9/05/13 11:32am

The Gear Crews Use to Snuff Out the Rim Fire

As of this morning, the Rim Fire burning through Yosemite National Park has scorched 237,341 acres—roughly 370 square miles—since it caught on August 17th, presumably from an illegal marijuana grow operation. Firefighters from across the state and country have been battling the blaze nonstop and currently have the fire … » 9/04/13 4:00pm 9/04/13 4:00pm

These Solar-Powered Giant Winged Drones Could Replace Satellites

Over the past decade there's been a big push for cheaper alternatives to space travel. Blasting man-made objects into orbit has never been a cheap endeavour, and a company called Titan Aerospace thinks gigantic solar-powered drones could even be a far more affordable alternative to launching satellites. » 8/21/13 2:20pm 8/21/13 2:20pm

Take a Spooky Drone Tour of a Decaying California Ghost Town

In the 1860s, the California mining boomtown of Bodie was alive with nouveau-riche miners, stagecoach holdups, opium dens, and prostitutes-turned-doctors. Less than sixty years later, Bodie was a ghost town with a population you could count on your hand—the ruins of which are explored in this amazing video filmed via… » 7/30/13 11:00am 7/30/13 11:00am

Smokey the Bear Meets the 21st Century in These Firefighting UAVs

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires. But that doesn't stop them from happening with frightening regularity and increasingly destructive force. To better understand and predict the atmospheric conditions that lead to these wildfires, one research team wants to float an armada of disposable, self-guided… » 7/23/13 11:30am 7/23/13 11:30am