elad orbach's Posts (25)

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There are individuals who push tools, materials, and craftsmanship to the limit in the world of micro RC aircraft, and [Martin Newell] gives some insight into the kind of work that goes into making something like a 1:96 scale P-51 Mustang from scratch. The tiny plane is 100% flyable. It even includes working navigation lights and flashing cannons (both done with 0402 LEDs) and functional, retractable landing gear. It weighs an incredible 2.9 grams. Apart from the battery, everything in the plane was built or assembled from scratch. A video is embedded below.

[Martin] shares some of the techniques that went into the many specialized parts of the plane. Two documents (Part 1 about techniques used for small aircraft and Part 2 about the P-51 Mustang pictured) are worth a read. In true craftsman fashion, he’s aware that while he rolled his own solutions and wasn’t aware of any similar prior work, he would be surprised if none of his innovations had ever been done by someone else before.

At such small scales many problems need re-solving, like electrical connectors. All the usual off-the-shelf connectors are far too big or heavy to go on such a small device where every fraction of a gram counts. Whenever possible, connectors are avoided entirely but sometimes — like to connect the custom-wound motor — it needs to be done. In these cases [Martin] made his own.

Micro plug and socket [Source: Warbirds at 1:100 Scale by Martin Newell]
The pin on the left of the photo above is made from a 0.1″ length of 0.010″ diameter brass rod soldered to a wire lead, supported with 0.020″ ID heat shrink tubing. The socket on the right is a 0.1″ length of plastic insulation from 32 AWG wire, with the strands from the other wire drawn through and around, and covered with 0.020″ shrink tubing. Contact is made by the brass pin (left) being squeezed against the multiple strands inside the plastic insulation tube (right).

Another innovation was hinges for the control surfaces like the rudder, ailerons, and flaps. Unsatisfied with plastic hinges, [Martin] made his own nearly-frictionless and nearly-weightless ones complete with re-centering springs. Each weighs 1.6 milligrams.

hingesControl surface hinge design [Source: Warbirds at 1:100 Scale by Martin Newell]
The hinges on the left are made from 0.008″ nickel wire and a 1 mm length of 0.4 mm plastic tube. The centering spring is a nylon bristle from a paintbrush, which [Martin] observed was pointed on one end and seemed quite springy. The tip of a single bristle is inserted into the model and by adjusting how far it is inserted, the amount of maximum deflection the control surface is allowed can be controlled. Once satisfactory, it is secured with a tiny bead of glue.

[Source: microflierradio.com]
A sample micro actuator. They get even smaller. [Source: microflierradio.com]
Servos are the usual means of actuating control surfaces like rudders and ailerons on model aircraft, but a plane like this one is far too small and lightweight to carry even the smallest servo. Instead of servos, these micro aircraft use tiny coils and magnets as actuators. They exert no force unless active, which means that whatever control surfaces they connect to need to provide their own means of re-centering and holding stable when idle. This type of actuator is common in micro aircraft, but understanding the design gives insight into why [Martin] designed the hinges and centering springs the way he did. Similar actuators are visible on the bottom of the wings in the video embedded below. They are responsible for moving the two ailerons, and the two flaps. More are present on the rudder and elevator at the rear of the plane.

[Martin] says that by far the most difficult part was the retractable landing gear. The solution uses 0.001” diameter Nitinol muscle wire. Muscle wire can be stretched about 5%, then when it is heated above a critical temperature by passing a current through it, it exerts a considerable force in attempting to contract back to its original length. By using two lengths of muscle wire, a pull-pull mechanism can be built in which the contraction of one wire has the effect of stretching the other while either raising or lowering the landing gear at the same time.

optimized-landing-gearA push-pull system using nitinol “muscle” wire provides the raw power behind actuating the landing gear, but required a significant custom assembly to work.

However, that was much easier said than done. [Martin] explains:

“Unfortunately this appealingly simple mechanism is fraught with implementation issues when trying to meet the design requirements. One of them is that after stretching one wire by contracting the other, when the current is stopped the contraction recoils about 30%. Therefore a lock is needed to keep the wire fully stretched. Then a second lock is needed to secure the landing gear up or down, so that sharp sideways forces do not result in any forces back on the muscle wire, which could collapse the landing gear. These requirements were met with a unit that weighs about 400 milligrams. The muscle wires rotate a 0.030” diameter capstan 90 degrees. The muscle wire recoil is countered by an over-center spring acting on an idler at the end of an arm attached to the capstan.”

[Martin] goes into detail about the whole retract assembly for the landing gear in Part 2 of his documentation.

A familiar question has been whether these planes are available for sale. The answer is probably also familiar to people who make such labor-intensive things: [Martin] says they are not for sale, at least not from him. If he did offer them for sale, nobody would pay the price he would ask because of the amount of work involved.

It took [Martin] about a year to develop and build the 1:96 P-51D Mustang, and he just recently shared a video of the tiny plane flying on his YouTube channel. It is embedded below.

[Martin] demonstrates all 8 channels of control in the video below:

Speaking of scratch-built RC aircraft, we previously covered a project dedicated to 3D printing parts for a flying RC plane, complete with in-depth testing and analysis. RC hobby aircraft is an example of a field that, while filled to the brim with off-the-shelf systems, is nevertheless home to individual innovation and DIY spirit.

taken from here

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A real flying submarine drone

Innocorp has a new drone that is a flying submarine. It is an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone and iot can transitio from water to air to land without any individual or multiple deployments, fission of elements, (as in rockets), or complicated maneuvering. 

Like the Murres, a unique seabird which can circumnavigate in the air and in water, SubMurres does both in unprecedented fashion. SubMurres has all the key features of a submarine, including complete marine functionality, communication tower with periscope for panoramic viewing of above-water landscape, dual propulsion blades, fully-articulated rotors that emerge as needed, sensors, and more. But it doesn’t end there.

The dual submarine aircraft moves ubiquitously from water to air. As a submarine, Submurres glide silently underwater performing its mission as it surfaces. Once on the water surface its flight system is engaged and its four rotors emerge from their compartments as vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) is initiated. Once airborne, there is no expulsion of parts. SubMurres simply flies unfettered, with all components intact. Its landing apparatus allow it to settle on terrain, and its second camera system allows it to fully capture surroundings. From land, it can be directly re-dispatched to water. No need to redeploy or to be picked up by another carrier aircraft, unlike any of the chief aeronautic industry or Navy-funded university’s latest submersive drone models.



SubMurres, can return to the water without redeployment from another submarine or any other transport vehicle. Unlike other drones in use today, the device is controlled by command rather than by a thin tethered wire or other medium.

SubMurres is a diesel/battery powered vehicle. It has a main diesel engine, a generator, and a battery bank. The diesels engine can either power the vehicle or run the generator that recharges the battery bank. 

As a diesel/battery powered UUV/UAV, SubMurres surfaces to run its diesel engine to charge the batteries. Once fully charged, SubMurres can head underwater using the battery-powered electric motors to drive its thrusters, sensors, cameras, and related equipment. While diesel/battery powered submarines are nothing new, InnoCorp is the first to implement this technology in a UUV/UAV drone, thereby significantly extending its operational capacity.

Even better than fictional Thunderbird 4 and UFO Skydiver

Thunderbird 4 was a fictional vehicle that was a submarine and a fast surface ship which could be carried in the air by Thunderbird 2.


Skydiver in the TV show UFO was a submarine that could launch a fighter plane


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Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, will today announce an innovation unit which will encourage individuals and companies to pitch ideas to a panel of experts. The best ideas will be fast-tracked with the support of an £800million fund over the next decade.

Projects which will be funded include a "micro-drone" with tiny flapping wings inspired by the biology of a dragon fly, which could have a "huge impact" on operations in urban environments.

It weighs less than two pound coins, is less than five inches long and will be able to fly at speeds of up to 45mph. The drone, which has been developed by a company called Animal Dynamics in Oxford, will be equipped with a camera and a microphone enabling it to carry out covert surveillance.

The unit will also fund new "Quantum Gravimeter" which is being developed with the University of Birmingham to survey underground structures.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said: "This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy, with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries.

“Backed by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, it will ensure that the UK maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world.”


The Gravity Sensing team from the University of Birmingham has made successful outdoor measurements with their quantum gravimeter for the first time. The quantum gravimeter, designed and built in the labs at Birmingham, represents a significant step forward in developing robust quantum technologies for use in real-world environments. The technique of gravity mapping is already used by civil engineers for carrying out surveys – such as on brownfield sites – and detecting underground features. The Gravity Imager is intended to provide higher sensitivity and reliability for such applications, while also drastically reducing measurement time through enhancing the robustness to external noise sources. These first outdoor measurements of gravity represent a step along the way to starting full field trials.

The iSense project aims to bring the latest developments in ultracold atom science to practical applications by developing the technology that will turn laboratory-based instrumentation into portable and robust instruments and sensors. One most attractive application of such instruments would be to create a very compact, highly sensitive gravimeter, which is one long term goal of the Project. 


The vision behind this project is to unleash the power of high-precision quantum sensors in a wide range of science and technology applications. In terms of fundamental science a precise force sensor based on the proposed technology would be designed and fabricated enabling a crucial step forward in detailed investigations of the Casimir force, or a search for deviations from Newtonian gravity. It would also be a tool for space missions, where compact, low power, ultra-high precision investigation of the local space-time manifold is required, or indeed where a distributed network of such sensors would be appropriate. The absence of local gravitational “noise” has the potential to achieve significantly higher sensitivity. All these scientific applications would provide extremely sensitive fundamental tests of our current theoretical framework in physics where small deviations from theory would be revolutionary.

Gravity sensors are already used in geodesy (e.g. ocean circulation, water balances, Antarctic ice levels, magma flows, etc), in the exploration of resources (location of scarce minerals, oil fields, etc) and archaeology (non-destructive mapping of sites and location of intact caverns). The improvements in precision and robustness offered by the quantum force sensor targeted in this proposal would not only make these applications more routine but offer completely new possibilities, e.g. the location and extraction of fragmented oil bubbles in current oil fields (potentially increasing the fraction of oil captured from today’s typical 40%). Other applications include the temporal supervision of carbon storage sites and monitoring of ground water, snow and soil moisture to improve climate models and our understanding of the global ecosystem.

In the longer term we anticipate novel communications paradigms (e.g. ultra wide band network timing) using a quantum-based position-time grid that would not require GPS, and exceed its accuracy by orders of magnitude. Further applications would become apparent as the technology develops, e.g. atom-based quantum information technology including computing and secure communications for a range of purposes including global trade exchange.

The technological breakthrough of transferring and adapting ICT into laser systems for cold atom preparation and control is the key essential and challenging step towards achieving these long term visions, as all rely on precise control of coherent, laser-generated photon fields and precision pulses. Laser systems based on integrated optics would not only be significantly more compact than standard laser technology but would also offer superior stability, adaptability and control, which will be crucial for precision measurements as well as quantum gate operations.

Gravimeter on a chip

The University of Glasgow have built a gravimeter on a chip that could offer a simple, compact and low-cost way of measuring gravity. The chip uses a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) that is similar to that used in accelerometers, which are ubiquitous in smartphones. However, the new device is about 1000 times more sensitive to accelerations than the devices found in consumer electronics.

The device has a sensitivity that is about ten times worse than the best commercial devices. According to the team, the device is still sensitive enough to detect a tunnel of cross-sectional area 2 m2 at a depth of 2 meters, and could be used to find an oil reservoir with a volume of 50 cubic meters at a depth of 150 meters.

The team is now working with a geological-survey company to develop a portable gravimeter that can be tested in the field. While the current design only measures acceleration in one direction, the physicists plan to create a device that works in 3D.

The team says that it could be produced for a 1000th of the normal $100,000 cost (so $100).
taken from: HERE
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Festo FreeMotionHandling

They have done it again, Festo thinking out of the box.

Both gripping and flying have long been a topic for the Bionic Learning Network. In the FreeMotionHandling, Festo has for the first time combined both areas. The indoor flying object can manoeuvre autonomously in any direction, independently picking up and dropping off items where they are required.

Autonomous flying gripping sphere

Both gripping and flying have long been a topic for the Bionic Learning Network. In the FreeMotionHandling, Festo has for the first time combined both areas. The indoor flying object can manoeuvre autonomously in any direction, independently picking up and dropping off items where they are required.

Flying assistance system for handling in mid-air

The handling system consists of an ultra-light carbon ring with eight adaptive propellers. In the middle of the ring sits a rotatable helium ball with an integrated gripping element. As a result, both man and machine can interact with each other easily and safely, opening up entirely new possibilities for the workplace of the future. In this future, people could be supported by the spheres, using them as a flying assistance system – for example, when working at giddying heights or in hard-to-access areas

Exact position sensing and precise object detection

No pilot is required to control the flying object. The sphere is coordinated externally by an indoor GPS, which has already been tried and tested on the eMotionSpheres and eMotionButterflies. In addition, the handling unit features two on-board cameras with which it monitors its surroundings, reacting to its environment even during the gripping process. Upon nearing the object to be gripped, the system takes over route planning, using the twin cameras for coordination.


taken from


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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have developed an innovative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can stay on station beneath the water, then launch into the air to perform a variety of missions.

Picture of CRACUN
Picture of CRACUN 
Picture of CRACUN
The Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System — or CRACUNS — is a submersible UAV that can be launched from a fixed position underwater, or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). 
Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

The Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System — or CRACUNS — is a submersible UAV that can be launched from a fixed position underwater, or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). A team from APL’s Force Projection Sector worked with fabrication experts in the Research and Exploratory Development Department to create a new type of unmanned vehicle that can operate effectively in two very different arenas: air and water.

“Engineers at APL have long worked on both Navy submarine systems and autonomous UAVs,” said Jason Stipes of APL’s Sea Control Mission Area, project manager for CRACUNS. “In response to evolving sponsor challenges, we were inspired to develop a vehicle that could operate both underwater and in the air.” The resulting CRACUNS prototype system was developed and tested using internal research and development funding.

CRACUNS enables new capabilities not possible with existing UAV or UUV platforms. Its ability to operate in the harsh littoral (shore) environment, as well as its payload flexibility, enables a wide array of potential missions.

The most innovative feature of CRACUNS is that it can remain at and launch from a significant depth without needing structural metal parts or machined surfaces.

To make that possible, the team needed to overcome two big challenges. First, the APL team leveraged advances in additive manufacturing and novel fabrication techniques available at the Laboratory’s extensive fabrication facilities. The team fabricated a lightweight, submersible, composite airframe able to withstand the water pressure experienced while submerged.

The second significant challenge was to ensure CRACUNS could not just survive, but operate effectively in a corrosive saltwater environment. To do that, the APL team sealed the most sensitive components in a dry pressure vessel. For the motors that are exposed to salt water, APL applied commercially available protective coatings. The team tested the performance of the motors by submerging them in salt water. Two months later, they showed no sign of corrosion and continued to operate while submerged.

“CRACUNS successfully demonstrated a new way of thinking about the fabrication and use of unmanned systems,” said APL’s Rich Hooks, an aerospace and mechanical engineer who was responsible for the novel additive manufacturing techniques used on CRACUNS.

CRACUNS gives sponsors and researchers access to possibilities that were previously unavailable. CRACUNS’ low cost makes it expendable, allowing for the use of large numbers of vehicles for high-risk scenarios.

“APL’s culture of innovation and mission-ready solutions continues to deliver success for our sponsors,” said Sea Control Mission Area Executive Christopher Watkins.

Media contact: Geoff Brown, 240-228-5618, geoffrey.brown@jhuapl.edu

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.

taken from here

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For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities have endured a substantial set of interrelated challenges. Dozens of attempts have been made to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work, with each effort struggling or failing in one way or another.

DARPA’s VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies and by developing and integrating novel subsystems to enable radical improvements in vertical and cruising flight capabilities. In an important step toward that goal, DARPA has awarded the Phase 2 contract for VTOL X-Plane to Aurora Flight Sciences.

“Just when we thought it had all been done before, the Aurora team found room for invention—truly new elements of engineering and technology that show enormous promise for demonstration on actual flight vehicles,” said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager. “This is an extremely novel approach,” Bagai said of the selected design. “It will be very challenging to demonstrate, but it has the potential to move the technology needle the farthest and provide some of the greatest spinoff opportunities for other vertical flight and aviation products.”

VTOL X-Plane seeks to develop a technology demonstrator that could

  • Achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300 kt to 400 kt
  • Raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60 percent to at least 75 percent
  • Present a more favorable cruise lift-to-drag ratio of at least 10, up from 5-6
  • Carry a useful load of at least 40 percent of the vehicle’s projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000 pounds


Aurora’s Phase 2 design for VTOL X-Plane envisions an unmanned aircraft with two large rear wings and two smaller front canards—short winglets mounted near the nose of the aircraft. A turboshaft engine—one used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft—mounted in the fuselage would provide 3 megawatts (4,000 horsepower) of electrical power, the equivalent of an average commercial wind turbine. The engine would drive 24 ducted fans, nine integrated into each wing and three inside each canard. Both the wings and the canards would rotate to direct fan thrust as needed: rearward for forward flight, downward for hovering and at angles during transition between the two.

The design envisions an aircraft that could fly fast and far, hover when needed and accomplish diverse missions without the need for prepared landing areas. While the technology demonstrator would be unmanned, the technologies that VTOL X-Plane intends to develop could apply equally well to manned aircraft. The program has the goal of performing flight tests in the 2018 timeframe.

Aurora’s unique design is only possible through advances in technology over the past 60 years, in fields such as air vehicle and aeromechanics design and testing, adaptive and reconfigurable control systems, and highly integrated designs. It would also be impossible with the classical mechanical drive systems used in today’s vertical lift aircraft, Bagai said.

The Phase 2 design addresses in innovative ways many longstanding technical obstacles, the biggest of which is that the design characteristics that enable good hovering capabilities are completely different from those that enable fast forward flight. Among the revolutionary design advances to be incorporated in the technology demonstrator:

Electric power generation and distribution systems to enable multiple fans and transmission-agnostic air vehicle designs
Modularized, cellular aerodynamic wing design with integrated propulsion to enable the wings to perform efficiently in forward flight, hover and when transitioning between them

Overactuated flight control systems that could change the thrust of each fan to increase maneuverability and efficiency
“This VTOL X-plane won’t be in volume production in the next few years but is important for the future capabilities it could enable,” Bagai said. “Imagine electric aircraft that are more quiet, fuel-efficient and adaptable and are capable of runway-independent operations. We want to open up whole new design and mission spaces freed from prior constraints, and enable new VTOL aircraft 

taken from here

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​Aeromechanics of membrane wings

taken from here

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forest trails
Autonomous drones have already mastered the wide-open skies. DHL, Amazon, and Google have each demonstrated self-piloting drones that can deliver packages — in fact, the latter two, as The Verge recently reported, are ready to implement full-scale drone delivery operations in the US and are simply waiting on regulators to get out of the way. But drones that can fly autonomously in complex environments with multiple obstacles (i.e. not the wide-open sky) are another story.

Navigation in terrains that are densely populated with obstacles is an ongoing challenge for researchers. There’s been some headway by a team at MIT, who last November demonstrated an autonomous drone avoiding trees while flying at high speeds in a wide-open field. Now, a group of Swiss researchers have developed technology that allows drones to autonomously navigate forest trails, a development they say could one day aid in search-and-rescue operations.

The group, comprised of researchers from the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the University of Zurich, and NCCR Robotics, used deep learning neural networks to tackle the challenge of training an autonomous drone to navigate a densely wooded forest. Teaching a computer to recognize the direction of a trail is a complex task. It can even be difficult for a human to determine the direction of a trail. Just take a look at these photos of trails taken by the researchers and try to determine which direction they’re headed in:

In order to train their algorithm, the researchers mounted three GoPro cameras to a headset and took off on hiking trails across the Swiss Alps. One camera was pointed ahead of the hiker, one to the left, and one to the right. After hours spent on these trails, the researchers had snapped over 20,000 images (images in front of the hiker and on either side). Then they used these images to teach their algorithm what the boundaries of a hiking trail should look like.

The result was a deep-learning algorithm that allows a drone equipped with a single forward-facing color camera to navigate a previously-unseen trail completely on its own — no human interaction whatsoever. The algorithm, the researchers claim, was even better than humans at determining the correct direction of the trails it traveled on, guessing the correct direction of a trail with 85 percent accuracy. Humans tasked with determining the direction of the same trails were able to do so correctly only 82 percent of the time.

The team cautions that these results are still in very preliminary stages. But while there’s a lot more work to be done before autonomous drones will be able to search forests for missing people, the researchers believe their work is a good sign of how deep neural network will allow autonomous vehicles to navigate situations that involve complex and highly dimensional inputs.

Check out the algorithm in action in the video below — which is scored with some pretty rad glitchy video-game music — posted by the researchers.

taken from theverge

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The SkyWall 100 is one of the latest device promising to protect the world from the impending drone takeover. It’s essentially a smart bazooka that fires a canister filled with a net at drones 100 meters away. Boom headshot.

An operator targets the drone and fires a canister that contains a large net that gets tangled in the drone’s rotors. A parachute then delivers the drone back to earth in a civilized manner. OpenWorks Engineering is the company behind the device and is marketing the device to protect sensitive events and buildings. This isn’t something meant to protect your home from snooping neighbors.

giphy (1)

The shoulder-mounted device uses an intelligent system that locks onto a drone, assisting the operator in firing and targeting. The scope identifies and then calculates a firing pattern based on the drone’s distance and vector. The technology sounds a lot like the systems inTrackingPoint’s smart guns that lets anyone get a bullseye on a target hundreds of meters away.

The company is also announcing the SkyWall 200, a semi-permanent launcher mounted on a tripod and offers increased range over the SkyWall 100. The SkyWall 300 is a turret-like device designed to be permanently installed. The company says tracking and detection is built into the 300 and operators can control the device remotely.

As drone technology advances, anti-drone technology has followed suited. SkyWall’s solution combine’s brute force with a bleeding edge tracking system. Other devices use radio waves to disrupt the targeted drone’s communications while other systems still use larger drones to capture smaller drones.

SkyWall has not released the price for their systems yet but says it will be available by the end of the year.

taken from tech-crunch

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Biodegradable drone made out of fungus and bacteria melts away when it crashes

Our team modeled, prototyped, and collaborated with Ecovative Designto grow a mycelium-based chassis for our biological drone. Below you'll find process photos, part designs, and links to open source model files for downloading and additively manufacturing your own biological or bio-inspired unmanned aerial vehicle. Finally, you can see images of the biological, biodegradable UAV that we built and flew!
Harvesting a pure bacterial cellulose sheet.
Experimenting with cellulose material shape.
Layering cellulose to create thicker leather, see here at the back of the hood.
Mycelium drone chassis, modeled and 3D-designed by our team, produced by Ecovative.
Our team collaborated with a silicon valley start up AgiC Inc. to print circuits onto our cellulose-based biomaterials in order to prototype how fully biodegradable circuitry might function on a biological UAV. See our Biomaterials page for details on the conductivity of this circuitry.
Variable thickness elements and experimental fragment attachment methods.
Spreading a cellulose sheet out to dry.

Starting Small, Ending Big
We began by experimenting with producing cellulose in sheets and cellulose acetate non-biologically. Seeing that primarily cellulose materials are extremely strong and tough, but tear easily and becomes soggy when wet, we sought to increase the durability of the cellulose by grinding it into pieces to create a cellulose paste (that became spreadable into sheets like paper made from wood pulp) and stretching and twisting it into ropes to add strength. A few of our material samples follow:

A spiral rope made by weaving together several cellulose sheets and dehydrating them.

A piece of cellulose leather generated by laying multiple sheets of cellulose together in perpendicular orientations.
While experimenting with cellulose-based materials, we also explored traditional starch bioplastics to compare material functionality. Here is an example of a starch bioplastic that we produced synthetically in the lab:

Common starch bioplastic, which is more voluminous but less strong than bacterial cellulose. Starch bioplastics, like bacterial cellulose materials, suffer disintegration when wet.
Realizing that cellulose acetate is tough but thin, our team was in need of a building material that was durable and lightweight. So, we reached out to Ecovative Design, a pioneering fungal-mycelium-based biomaterial company, to prototype a mycelium form that could serve as the chassis of our vehicle. Ecovative shipped us mycelium samples (pictured below), that we skinned in bacterial cellulose.

6" by 6" by 1" sample of Ecovative's lightweight mycelium-based biomaterial.

A piece of fungal mycelium skinned in bacterial cellulose.
Thanks to Ecovative, we were able to construct a prototype biological unmanned aerial vehicle!

But we didn't stop there. Our team was enthusiastic about drone design and so we developed concept UAV designs meant to inspire future scientists and designers to think outside the box about how a future, partially living vehicle might look. Pseudo-natural and pseudo-industrial, our drone design references the traditional biological architecture of birds while embracing industrial additive manufacturability.

All 3D printable files for this concept drone are available in the downloads section. Images of our work follow:

Concept UAV Design

Biological UAV Concept, Exploded View

Designed Parts & Downloads
We succeeded in producing multiple viable chassis designs for mycelium UAV concept prototypes. You can download our basic chassis designs here. If you would like to receive a copy of the designs for our more involved, final UAV concept (pictured above), then please reach out to us! We would love to share our work! In the meantime, download and check out our other models below:
Mycelium_Quad_1.SLDPRT: Download a 3D printable STL file for our mycelium quad chassic (pictured at top of page), which can accept four motors and serve as the foundation for a DIY biomaterial drone prototype.

Links & References
Interested in what we've been working on and want to find more relevant information? Check out some of the following sites, companies, and people who either aided us in our production of biomaterials or collaborated with us in working to produce a viable biological unmanned aerial vehicle.
● Ecovative — Fungal-mycelium-based biomaterial production company
● Miriam Ribul's Recipes for Material Activism documents bioplastic production with household ingredients
● Cooking Objects — Understanding objects, objectivity, and our relationship with sustainably produced, biodegradable household objects
● The NASA Space shop, providing resources and tools for rapid prototyping at the NASA Ames Research Center

Drone Futures
Here is a collection of drone-related sites and speculative work that stimulated our team to think about synthetic biology, the future, and the role of personal unmanned aerial vehicles or biological devices in an evolving world of DIY craft, government surveillance, and channelled creativity.
● Frabrica — Drone, speculative fictions in the age of the drone
● Drone Survival Guide — a poster series highlighting the uneasy relationship between the public and drones
● DIY Drones — a growing online community of makers committed to building unmanned aircraft
● Drone shadows, a visual reminder of constant surveillance
● Anti-Drone hoodie

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View our Complete Project List
Meet our team!

link to the original post   here
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Sony camera controlled with RC transmitter

proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2F2.bp.blogspot.com%2F-GuyfBo2dEGo%2FVFZE4UkC6sI%2FAAAAAAAAAJo%2FbVkSWvEyeKs%2Fs1600%2FIMG_1774.JPG&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*&width=350for this demo I used 3.3v as power source for the receiver but in real life it will probably be a 5v power source so you'll need to figure a way how to do it (resistors, level converter...) 
so let's start 
what you need:
sony block camera (visca)
arduino (3.3v)
rc transmitter
rc receiver
monitor with av
arduino mini 3.3v


rc transmitter - spektrum dx6i




then you'll need to hook up the wires as so
camera rx to arduino tx
camera tx to arduino rx
camera gnd to arduino gnd
arduino digital pin 3 to reciever elev channel


then you left with video and power
power specs says 9v plus or minus 3v
and video is ntsc so any suitable 
monitor will do the job

and of course the code :)


/* build and tested using
sony camera block fcb-ex11d and
rc transmitter spektrum dx6i with
ar6200 reciever and connected to the elev channel */
byte address_set[4]= {0x88, 0x30, 0x01, 0xFF};
byte if_clear[5]= {0x88, 0x01, 0x00, 0x01, 0xFF};
byte command_cancel[3]= {0x81,0x21,0xFF};
byte zoom_teleVar[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x23, 0xFF}; //zoom in 81 01 04 07 2p FF - p=0 (low) to 7 (high)
byte zoom_wideVar[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x33, 0xFF}; //zoom out 81 01 04 07 3p FF - p=0 (low) to 7 (high)
byte zoom_stop[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x00, 0xFF}; //stop zoom
byte auto_focus[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x38, 0x02, 0xFF}; //auto focus

const int thisdelay= 250; //time between sets
const int zoom_out=3; //Zoom 

void setup() {
pinMode(zoom_in, INPUT);
pinMode(zoom_out, INPUT);
// initialize both serial ports:
//send Address set
for (int i=0; i<4; i++){
//send IF_clear set
for (int i=0; i<5; i++){

//zoom in
void loop() {
int zoom_inState=pulseIn(3, HIGH, 25000);
if(zoom_inState>1550 )
//Send zoom tele set
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){

//zoom out
int zoom_outState=pulseIn(3, HIGH, 25000);
if(zoom_outState < 1400 )
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){
//zoom stop
if(zoom_outState < 1500 && zoom_inState > 1400 ){
//send auto focus cmd
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){
//send zoom stop
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){

void sendcommand_cancel(){
for (int i=0; i<3; i++){

next thing will be to import it to attiny85

will release the code later tonight

**got really cool board that im using called attami (google it :) )

i was told that it will cost 1euro (not assembled)

and will be available at c31c (chaos communication congress #31)

code for attiny85 or attami :)

/* build and tested using
sony camera block fcb-ex11d and
rc transmitter spektrum dx6i with
ar6200 reciever and connected to the elev channel */

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>

#define zoom PB0 // zoom
#define rxPin PB1 // rx
#define txPin PB2 // tx

SoftwareSerial mySerial(rxPin, txPin);

byte address_set[4]= {0x88, 0x30, 0x01, 0xFF};
byte if_clear[5]= {0x88, 0x01, 0x00, 0x01, 0xFF};
byte command_cancel[3]= {0x81,0x21,0xFF};
byte zoom_teleVar[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x23, 0xFF}; //zoom in 81 01 04 07 2p FF - p=0 (low) to 7 (high)
byte zoom_wideVar[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x33, 0xFF}; //zoom out 81 01 04 07 3p FF - p=0 (low) to 7 (high)
byte zoom_stop[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x07, 0x00, 0xFF}; //stop zoom
byte auto_focus[6]= {0x81, 0x01, 0x04, 0x38, 0x02, 0xFF}; //auto focus

const int thisdelay= 250; //time between sets

void setup() {
pinMode(rxPin, INPUT);
pinMode(txPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(zoom, INPUT);
// initialize both serial ports:
//send Address set
for (int i=0; i<4; i++){
//send IF_clear set
for (int i=0; i<5; i++){

//zoom in
void loop() {
int zoom_inState=pulseIn(zoom, HIGH, 25000);
if(zoom_inState>1550 )
//Send zoom tele set
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){

//zoom out
int zoom_outState=pulseIn(zoom, HIGH, 25000);
if(zoom_outState < 1400 )
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){
//zoom stop
if(zoom_outState < 1500 && zoom_inState > 1400 ){
//send auto focus cmd
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){
//send zoom stop
for (int i=0; i<6; i++){

void sendcommand_cancel(){
for (int i=0; i<3; i++){

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Crowdfund A Collapsible RC Tricopter


It looks a bit like Anakin Skywalker's starfighter from The Phantom Menace.


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Watch This Drone On A Leash

It's like a dog that is always watching you.

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A $38,000 piece of Styrofoam


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The winners of the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition will take home $250,000 and some serious bragging rights.
      Human Powered Flight             Click here to see this amazing image even larger.                 Ollie Bland

Even though scientists have dreamed of human-powered flight since the days of Da Vinci, it's really, really hard to pull off. Case in point: In 1980, the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition offered $250,000 to the first team to build a person-powered craft that can hover above 3 meters (or 9.8 feet) for longer than a minute. That prize went unclaimed for 33 years, until a team won it today.

The team of Canadians flying for AeroVelo launched their Atlas helicopter on June 13, and the flight--64 seconds, up to 3.3 meters--was just certified by the Sikorsky Prize judges. (We previously wrote about team member Todd Reichert's human-powered ornithopter project, too.) Here's a look at the flight:


Despite the prize going unclaimed for so long, the competition came down to the wire. The Atlas team was going up against two other aircraft, and one of them, the Gamera II, met the time requirement and came pretty close to the height requirement last year.

But lest you think this is the end of the three-decade-plus story, the American Helicopter Society, which oversees the prize, has announced "another grand challenge" coming soon.


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Under the gaze of a hovering quadcopter's high-definition camera, a 4-metre-wingspan drone guns its twin engines and takes to the skies. So began the first flight of an uncrewed aircraft early last month that could soon be monitoring two seas – the English Channel and the North Sea – for risks to shipping, illegal fishing operations and even drug-running boats.

Called 2Seas, the UAV is designed to fly lengthy surveillance missions for coastguards in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. It is a direct descendant of the catapult-launched, 1.5-metre-wingspan, electric-powered SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) – the world's first all-3D-printed drone, built at the University of Southampton, UK. SULSA's first flight was exclusively revealed by New ScientistMovie Camera in August 2011.

After that success, the European Union commissioned aeronautical engineers led by Southampton's Jim Scanlan and Andy Keane to develop 2Seas. It's built on similar design principles to SULSA but thanks to its petrol-driven engines it can fly autonomous surveillance missions for 5 hours at 100 kilometres per hour, sipping just 7 litres of fuel in doing so.

However, where SULSA's fuselage, wings and tail were entirely 3D-printed in strong ABS plastic, the much bigger 2Seas needs higher-lift wings that were too long for today's 3D printers to make. So although the heart of 2Seas – the central wing box, fuel tank and engine mountings – was 3D-printed, the wings and tail are made from carbon fibre.

One design feature carried over from SULSA is a criss-cross pattern printed onto the inside of the drone to strengthen it. First used on the British Vickers Wellington bomber in the second world war – at great expense – such geodesics can be built in via 3D printing for virtually no extra cost.

The aircraft has already passed many tests, even coping with strong crosswinds and appalling weather, but faces many more, focusing on its vibration and flight characteristics when carrying  surveillance equipment. "If those trials go well this UAV could go into initial service in 2015 or even earlier," says Scanlan.

taken from:


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Maggie Rogers/Alaska Division of Forestry

Greg Walker, the director of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration, preparing a drone for launching.


SAN FRANCISCO — As wildfire season begins in Western landscapes that were covered in smoky haze for weeks at a time last summer, the federal government’s firefighters are exploring the use of small remote-controlled drones with infrared cameras that could map a fire’s size and speed, and identify hot spots, a particular danger.       

With a maximum wingspan of about 52 inches, the drones would supplement and perhaps replace manned surveillance aircraft, potentially reducing the risk to both pilots and firefighters.       

But the effort is being slowed by Federal Aviation Administration regulations.       

The use of drones in open airspace is regulated by the F.A.A., and its safety requirements effectively preclude unmanned aerial systems, or U.A.S.’s, from operating out of sight of a ground-based pilot. If distance or the smoke of a wildfire obscures a drone from observers on the ground, a piloted aircraft must be sent aloft to keep an eye on it.       

“In terms of federal regulations right now, we can’t use U.A.S.’s out there except on a very limited basis,” said Ron Hanks, the aviation safety and training officer at the federal Forest Service.       

Rusty Warbis, the flight operations manager at the Bureau of Land Management, said the process of approving individual trial flights was “cumbersome,” though improving.       

The evaluations by wildfire experts are part of larger questions on how to incorporate these aircraft, originally used for military purposes, into civilian missions. The drones could complicate the main mission of the F.A.A., ensuring the safety of the country’s airspace. And observers in Congress believe that inherent distrust of government and privacy concerns are also slowing the introduction of firefighting drones.       

Their potential usefulness, particularly their ability to pinpoint hot spots and fly in thick smoke that would ground other aircraft, was shown in an Alaskan fire nearly four years ago.       

The fire, which burned over 447,000 acres — roughly half the size of Rhode Island — northeast of Fairbanks, was generating so much smoke that no planes were permitted to fly overhead. But a drone belonging to the University of Alaska Fairbanks was launched and easily identified the extent of the blaze and its varying levels of heat.       

“The smoke was so thick no one was flying — that’s why they came to us,” said Rosanne Bailey, a retired Air Force brigadier general who is the deputy director of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the university. “We could fly and see the borders of the fire using infrared.”       

Kent Slaughter, the acting manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service, said it took four days to get the F.A.A.’s approval for that flight in 2009; the process is now down to about 24 hours.       

But privacy concerns are slowing the integration of unmanned vehicles into the firefighters’ tool kit, said Senator Mark Begich, a freshman Democrat from Alaska. “Firefighting is a great example of how unmanned aircraft” are able “to determine the range of a fire, the intensity of a fire, without jeopardizing lives,” he said. “That’s a unique application, especially in my state, in Colorado, in California.”       

He called the delays in getting approvals for testing the craft “frustrating.” The reason cited most often by firefighting experts is the requirement that the aircraft be followed and monitored by a chase plane if ground observers cannot see them through smoke, or because they are flying into canyons in steep and rugged terrain.       

Les Dorr, an F.A.A. spokesman, said that safety in the air and on the ground is paramount and that the issue of line-of-sight requirements for drone use was being carefully studied.       

The Army has lent the Interior Department 41 small drone aircraft that have been used for environmental monitoring, including tracking migratory wildfowl.       

The Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, has also been studying drone use for years. Mr. Hanks, of the Bureau of Land Management, said one question was how much value drones would bring to existing firefighting methods.       

“We are still developing policies internally, what the cost benefit would be,” he said. The drones, Mr. Hanks added, “would be competing against what we could do aerially against a helicopter or a light fixed-wing airplane.”       

John Gould, the aviation chief at the B.L.M., who along with Mr. Hanks is based at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, had a similarly cautious perspective. “We’re trying to get them in the mix and put them out in the field to see the potential,” he said.       


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Photography Drones: Robot Cameras Take to the Skies

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Passenger plane flies 800 kilometers without a pilot

Say hello to the droneliner. A business plane has flown an 800-kilometre round trip in civilian airspace without the pilot onboard operating its controls.

Instead, the plane flew itself like an outsized drone with continual monitoring of its autonomous manoeuvres performed by a pilot based on the ground.

The flight from Warton in Lancashire, to Inverness in Scotland by a British Aerospace Jetstream is being hailed as a milestone by members of ASTRAEA, a £62 million UK research consortium aiming to develop the technology that will allow civilian aircraft to share their airspace with drones – some of which could be as big as airliners.

The flight happened back in April but the details have only just been revealed. It took off with a regular pilot and test engineers on board. But once the aircraft was straight and level, the pilot handed control  to the ground pilot and sat back for the ride, only taking over again for the landing.

The aircraft – a 19-seat propeller-powered business plane – was not merely on autopilot. It tested the detect-and-avoid technology, which drones in civil airspace will need to have to ensure they keep their distance from other air traffic and automatically undertake collision-avoidance manoeuvres.

The algorithm that runs this technology has been thrashed out with air-safety experts at the UK Civil Aviation Authority who have ensured it sticks to the "rules of the air" understood by pilots worldwide.

Replacing eyeballs

To test the system, fake objects to avoid were introduced to the flight computer, says Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal at BAE Systems, program director for ASTRAEA.

"Because we were in shared airspace, all the sense-and-avoid manoeuvres we tested used synthetic targets. Any changes to the flight route were communicated to the ground-based pilot by air traffic control, with the pilot then instructing the aircraft to amend its course accordingly," he says.

Jim Scanlan, one of the designers of the world's first 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle Movie Cameraat the University of Southampton, UK, is impressed. "I think it's great. It's good to see such progress in the UK – especially with the US hoping to open up its airspace to UAVs in 2015."

The main thing ASTRAEA needs to get right is that sensing and avoiding capability, says Scanlan. "That's the showstopper at the moment. Without a pilot they need a sensing system to replace the Mark 1 eyeball – one that can tell a hot-air balloon from a cloud."


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RQ-9 Reaper and an Aeryon Scout Quadrotor


How do you define a drone? What's the difference between an RQ-9 Reaper and a quadrotor? Your pressing drone questions, answered    

RQ-9 Reaper and an Aeryon Scout Quadrotor                    The armed RQ-9 Reaper MQ-1 Predator, seen on the left, is visually distinct from the Aeryon Scout Quadrotor. The Reaper is also six almost eleven times as long.                Wikimedia Commons        

When an unmanned aerial vehicle reportedly flew within about 200 feet of an airliner earlier this week, outlets like Time and CNN chose to accompany their stories with a picture of the RQ-9 Reaper--this, despite that initially, there was no concrete description of the unmanned aircraft.

It's not terribly surprising that news outlets would default to an image of the Reaper; it's perhaps the most widely recognized drone in operation. But as more details of the incident surfaced, this simplification proved incredibly wrong. The unmanned craft is now described as a 3-foot-long quadrotor--a four-blade copter--which is wildly distinct from the 36-foot-long Reaper; a bit like the difference between a Johnny Seven O.M.A and an AK-47. That's when I realized: drones are really confusing. Even to people who get paid to write about them! So here's a primer on what is and isn't a drone, the differences between common types of drones, and a bunch of other stuff you need to know to sound smart talking about these things:

Where does the term drone come from?

When unmanned flying vehicles were first introduced to the U.S. military, the ability to control them from afar wasn't very sophisticated. So the first drones flew along pre-set paths, operating off an internal navigation system. This led to servicemen informally referring to any machine that flew without human control a "drone," and Germany still has some like this in service today. That said, the "not being controlled by a human" part of the definition has since been lost to everyday use.

What exactly are drones?

"Drone" as a category refers to any unmanned, remotely piloted flying craft, ranging from something as small as a radio-controlled toy helicopter to the 32,000-pound, $104 million Global Hawk. If it flies and it's controlled by a pilot on the ground, it fits under the everyday-language definition of drone.

Global Hawk
Global Hawk:   Wikimedia Commons

Wait, does that mean model airplanes are drones?

Almost! Actually, under the law as it stands, any unmanned, remotely piloted vehicle in the United States flown for hobby or recreational purposes is a model airplane, thanks to the 2012 FAA re-authorization act. In 2015, the FAA will suggest new, drone-specific regulations, at which point model airplane law and drone law will probably diverge. Until then, though, all small drones used by private citizens in the U.S. are legally model airplanes.

So is the military using model airplanes?

No. The military is not considered a private citizen, so it plays by different rules, and uses different terminology.

Okay, so what terms does the military use?

The military has described drones, variously, as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), and Remotely Piloted Systems. (The FAA uses some of these terms, too.) The difference between UAV/RPV and UAS/RPS is that the former terms refer to the vehicle itself, and the latter terms describe the vehicle as well as the pilot and support staff. These are useful distinctions for specialists, but not for regular people.

What are the different types of drones the military uses?

The United States military alone maintains three different classifications, one each for the Air Force, Army, and Marines. Part of the confusion in drone terminology is overlapping and competing definitions. The Air Force files drones under five different tiers; the Army and the Marines file drones under three tiers, and none of those tiers perfectly overlap. That's boring and technical. Instead, here are some of the most commonly used or iconic drones:

RQ-11 Raven The RQ-11 Raven weighs 4 pounds, is launched with a throw, and is piloted with a hand-held unit that resembles a video-game controller. The Raven isn't the most iconic military drone, but it is probably the most used: more than 19,000 have been built. It's mainly useful for seeing around corners and sending footage of rooftops back to troops moving through a city.

It also looks like an awkward model airplane, and it breaks apart like LEGOs when it lands:

RQ-7 Shadow The RQ-7 Shadow is approximately man-sized, and can fly almost 80 miles away from its commander while providing near-instant video to give a good picture of the battlefield.

Shadow 200
Shadow 200 :   Wikimedia Commons

MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper The MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are the most iconic drones, and odds are if there's a news story about a drone, it's going to have a picture of one of these. These guys can be armed so that makes them largely, though by no means exclusively, the preferred tool for what we call drone strikes. The main difference between them is that the newer Reaper is larger, has a more powerful engine, and can carry much, much more. They still both look like someone slapped a giant wing on a match, though.

MQ-1 Predator UAV
MQ-1 Predator UAV:   Wikimedia Commons

Rq-4 Global Hawk The Rq-4 Global Hawk is the leviathan of the drone fleet. As mentioned above, it weighs more than 32,000 pounds, has a 130-foot wingspan, and can fly for more than a day. It can reach up to 60,000 feet, and from high elevation it can take high-resolution images of the land below, as well as detect and track moving targets.

Aeryon Scout Though not in use by the United States, let's take a look at the Aeryon Scout. It's a small quadrotor that NATO allies supplied to the Libyan rebels in the recent campaign to overthrow Gaddafi. The scout weighs less than 3 pounds and can fly for about 25 minutes, making it useful for checking around corners. It's operated with a touch screen, too.

Aeryon Scout
Aeryon Scout:   Wikimedia Commons

That's by no means a comprehensive list of military drones, but it should get you through a dinner party.

What about private industry? Does it use simpler terms?

As of last week, yes! Not because the drone industry doesn't have weird or obscure terms, but on Friday the drone lobbyist Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conceded that "drone" is what people are calling unmanned aerial vehicles, so "drone" is now begrudgingly the industry term.

So what should I call them?

Ultimately, depends on your audience. In everyday conversation or casual writing, "drone" is fine. If the audience is military or industry, or knowledgeable policy makers, it might be best to skip the informal terms, crack open Google, and figure out exactly how these people are going to talk about flying robots.

taken from: here

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