Fighter jets belonging to a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched dozens of air raids on several Yemeni provinces, as the kingdom announced the start of a new military operation. The Houthi-run Al Masirah Media Network reported air raids on the capital, Sanaa, as well as Marib, al-Jouf, al-Bayda, Hajjah and Saada provinces throughout Wednesday and into the night. It said an elderly woman and a child were killed and four others wounded in Saada province. In Sanaa, residents described the air raids, which also struck the city's international airport, as "violent". Saudi state television reported earlier on Wednesday that the coalition had begun a military push against the Houthis after the group stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on the kingdom.
We already have drones and increasingly autonomous cars, so it's perhaps no surprise that several companies are already working on flying taxis – also known as passenger drones and electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The first piloted eVTOL services are expected as early as this year, but we could see pilot-less autonomous eVTOLs soon after that. That's right; autonomous flying taxis could be a reality in your lifetime. The number of hours we used to spend sitting in traffic before the coronavirus hit is almost too depressing to think about, particularly if you live in a densely populated, congested city like Los Angeles, New York or London. Some are suggesting eVTOL services could be the answer to our traffic prayers – transporting passengers on congested city routes through the air. Meanwhile, other companies are developing eVTOLs aimed at popular intercity journeys, such as traveling from my home town of Milton Keynes to London.
In a bid to protect beachgoers from the animals that live in the water they're entering, the New South Wales government will spend AU$8 million on a new strategy that includes a fleet of shark-spotting drones to patrol the state's coastline. Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall is calling the strategy "shark management" and said it is based on five years of scientific research into shark behaviour and the most effective ways to protect beachgoers. "As a government, our number one priority is keeping people at our beaches safe and that's why we're rolling out a revamped strategy to reduce the risk of shark attacks," Marshall said on Wednesday. "Our world-leading research showed SMART drumlines and drones are the most effective detection and surveillance tools." The government, in partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, will deploy new drones at 34 beaches across the state and deploy 35 SMART drumlines in locations deemed high-risk along the state's north coast.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly said Monday. Interpol later said it wouldn't consider Iran's request, meaning Trump faces no danger of arrest. However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and 35 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the Jan. 3 strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face "murder and terrorism charges," the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.
A drone has begun delivering urgent medical supplies to a hospital on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. The trial is part of a government project to develop a transport system that allows manned and unmanned aircraft to operate safely in the same airspace. And it could have significant implications for the delivery of humanitarian aid to isolated areas.
Former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman speaks out. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press conference on Wednesday that if the U.N. Security Council doesn't agree to extend the arms embargo against Iran, then the U.S. will seek to "snap back" multilateral sanctions on the regime. Pompeo made the remarks ahead of a briefing by U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook to the Security Council on why the arms embargo should be extended, citing Iran's behavior since the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal, including a drone attack on Saudi Arabia in 2019. "Without action, on the 18th of [October], Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapon systems and become the arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said Wednesday. He quoted former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry, who each made comments that if the U.S. was not satisfied with how the deal was working out, that it could unilaterally reimpose the sanctions that were previously on the Iranian regime.
Researchers from NCCR Robotics at the University of Zurich and Intel developed an algorithm that pushes autonomous drones to their physical limit. Since the dawn of flight, acrobatics has been a way for pilots to prove their bravery and worth. It is also a way to push the envelope of what can be done with an aircraft, learning lessons that are useful to all pilots and engineers. The same is true for unmanned flight. Professional drone pilots perform acrobatic maneuvers in dedicated competitions, pushing drones to their physical limits and perfecting their control and efficiency.
Army researchers have designed a new drone that can transform mid-flight, making it capable of both high-speed flight and hovering in place at a target destination. The drone was a joint effort from the US Army Research Laboratory and engineers Texas A&M, who presented their research at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aviation Forum and Exposition. The drone transforms by either bending its wings upward or fully extending them depending on the needs of the mission and the types of maneuvers it needs to execute. For'dash' segments of missions, which require travel to and from a target, the wings will be folded inward to allow for faster and more efficient travel, while'loiter' phases of a mission will see the wings fully extended for increased stability. 'During dash segments, short wings are desirable in order to go fast and be more maneuverable, but for loiter segments, long wings are desirable in order to enable low power, high endurance flight.'
Scientists have developed a quadrotor helicopter, or quadcopter, that can learn to fly acrobatic manoeuvres that would challenge even a human operator. The drone, developed with US tech giant Intel, uses a navigation algorithm that allows it to autonomously perform tricks using on-board sensor measurements. In demonstrations, researchers flew power loops, barrel rolls and matty flips, during which the drone was subject to high thrust and extreme angular acceleration. A drone with the ability to perform tricky stunts will be more efficient in conventional operations, the research team say. It can be pushed to its physical limits, make full use of its agility and speed and cover more distance within its battery life.
A new tech startup has announced plans to hold a flying car race in Australia before the end of 2020, the first of what it hopes will be a series of events that could become the 21st century version of F1. Organized by Airspeeder, a tech startup with offices in Adelaide and London, the race will feature two remotely piloted flying cars, racing through the outskirts of Coober Pedy, a small town in the Australian Outback used as the setting for the original Mad Max films. The first race is planned as a public exhibition, with support from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and Airspeeder hopes it will be the first of an international circuit of races that could expand to include piloted vehicles. 'Le Mans, Bathurst, Monaco, there are these amazing places where we've seen the birth of new sports,' Airspeeder's Matt Pearson told ABC News. 'This is such a great place for us to basically create that next iconic place for racing.'