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Air Force Research Lab orders 15 Silent Arrow unmanned cargo gliders

Looking for a new way to resupply ground troops, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has ordered 15 cargo glider drone/runway drone from Silent Arrow, a company of Yates Electrospace.


The AFRL ordered the “Silent Arrow Precision Guided Bundle”, a new glider variant that is a smaller version of the “Silent Arrow GD-2000” drone, which Silent Arrow built for the US Special Operations Command.


The smaller Precision Guided Bundle UAV will be able to be launched from aircraft side doors and cargo ramps. Aircraft capable of deploying the drones will include those as small as Cessna Caravan turboprops and as large as Boeing C-17 strategic airlifters, the company says.


The autonomous unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) will be built at the company’s Irvine site, then shipped north for operational evaluations in 2022 at Pendleton UAS Test Range in Oregon, Silent Arrow adds.


The Silent Arrow line of cargo gliders have spring-loaded wings that fold for storage and deploy for flight. The type is advertised as being cheaper than the US Army’s Joint Precision Airdrop System, a GPS-guided parachute system used for delivering cargo.


The un-powered Precision Guided Bundle has a 34.8nm (64.4km) glide range and is “deployable from high altitudes and airspeeds”, says Silent Arrow. It is about 1m (3.3ft) long and has 159kg (350lb) of cargo payload capacity. By comparison, the larger Silent Arrow GD-2000 can carry 740kg of cargo.


Silent Arrow says Precision Guided Bundles will also have swarming abilities, likely meaning the UAVs will be able to share sensor data and work together to find landing zones.


The details: The flight was a significant technical challenge, thanks to Mars’s bone-chilling temperatures (nights can drop down to -130 °F/-90 °C) and its incredibly thin atmosphere—just 1% the density of Earth’s. That meant Ingenuity had to be light, with rotor blades that were bigger and faster than would be needed to achieve liftoff on Earth (although the gravity on Mars, which is only about one-third of Earth’s, worked in its favor). The flight had originally been scheduled to take place on April 11 but was delayed by software issues.


Why it’s significant: Beyond being a significant milestone for Mars exploration, the flight will also pave the way for engineers to think about new ways to explore other planets. Future helicopter drones could help rovers or even astronauts by scoping out locations, exploring inaccessible areas, and capturing images. Ingenuity will also help inform the design of Dragonfly, a car-size drone that NASA is planning to send to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2027.


What’s next: In the next few weeks, Ingenuity will conduct four more flights, each lasting up to 90 seconds. Each one is designed to further push the limits of Ingenuity’s capabilities. Ingenuity is only designed to last for 30 Martian days, and is expected to stop functioning around May 4.


When you get a drone you might think that everything you need will come in the box, and on a basic level that is true. Most consumer drones come with everything you need to have a satisfying flying experience. However, the more you get into the hobby of flying drones, you begin to experiment with different things and start understanding some of the other gear you might need to get the most out of your drone.


Drone accessories are an often overlooked yet important aspect of the drone flight experience. Accessories like a carrying case, SD cards, extra batteries and propellers, and ND filters will help you get the most out of your drone both in performance and lifespan.


There are many accessories for your drone, but before you start loading up on gear, you should make sure that the accessories you choose fit your specific drone model. If not, you might purchase something that doesn’t work for your model, and then you’ll have to go through the hassle of returning it and getting a replacement.


This article will help you think through some of the most necessary and best drone accessories in 2021, as well as helping you make sure you get the right gear specific to your drone.


As I said, most drones do not absolutely require you to add any accessories. They are sufficient on their own out of the box. However, after flying drones for a while, I have often found myself thinking that I wish I had a certain accessory that would simply make things more convenient or efficient.


That is why I have compiled the following list of accessories that are extremely helpful for anyone who flies drones.


1. Carrying Case or Bag


Many of the high-end drones come with a flimsy carrying case just big enough to fit your drone and controller. They often do not fit everything else you might want or need to carry with you when you’re out flying.


Since the included bag isn’t really stellar, getting a quality case or bag for your drone is a great idea. There are many drone backpacks on the market, so you’ll have to shop around to find the one that will fit all your gear and suit your taste as well as fits your budget.


2. Extra Batteries


Once you start flying your drone, you’re going to want to fly it for longer without having to wait until your batteries charge. That’s why you’ll want to pick up a few extra batteries.


Since most batteries don’t last more than about 20-30 minutes at a time, a few extra drone batteries are a great investment to add to the drone accessories you are thinking about purchasing.


3. Charging Hub


While we’re talking about extra batteries, you may want to get a hub to charge your extra batteries. That way when you are ready to fly, all the batteries are ready at the same time.


4. Battery Bag


If you purchase extra batteries and want to transport them, it would be a good idea to get a battery bag. There are added concerns when transporting loose LiPo batteries, so a battery bag that is fireproof will help you transport them with confidence that you’re not going to start a fire.


5. High Capacity SD Cards


Most of us fly drones to capture incredible aerial views with high-definition cameras. We want to be able to share those views with others. If you’re going to be taking photos and videos with your drone, and want the best possible image files, you’re definitely going to need some high-capacity SD cards.


Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is also being hailed as a part of Industrial Revolution 4.0, has established its presence across myriad fields in recent years. AI has become somewhat of an umbrella term for a host of scientific and technological evolutions across various applications, computer sciences, and use cases.


Known predominantly as a series of technologies that promote intelligent execution of tasks in machines, AI is rapidly establishing itself as a reality in the current technological landscape, as well as a robust solution for future evolutions. The success of the AI field is characterized by the ever-increasing availability of computing power and data, backed by advancements in electronics miniaturization and machine learning (ML), among others.


While AI already has a significant presence across various commercial sectors such as retail and banking, its scope for defense and security is becoming more prominent in recent years. Artificial intelligence can be used for a plethora of defense applications including novel weaponry development, command and control of military operations, logistics and maintenance optimization, and force training and sustainment.


The integration of AI is also bringing more autonomy to military applications, particularly in unmanned machines and unmanned robot. These range from aerial autonomous vehicles to unmanned ground vehicles that can function with the help of environmental sensors and AI with little to no human intervention.


AUTONOMY IN LAND DEFENSE VEHICLES


The first truly autonomous vehicle came into being in 1984, developed by the ALV and Navlab projects from Carnegie Mellon University. Various research and development efforts have been undertaken since then, giving rise to a number of advanced Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) prototypes. Advancements in technology have expanded the use of robotic autonomous vehicles across many fields in addition to UGVs, including Unmanned Under Water Vehicles (UUV), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UGVs are vehicles that operate on the ground, without the need for human presence onboard. They are the land counterparts of marine and aerial unmanned vehicles. All of these vehicles play integral roles in enhancing performance, efficiency, and safety across various applications, including military and civilian.




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