Drones have a fundamental design problem. The kind of drone that can carry large payloads at high speeds over long distances is fundamentally different from the kind of drone that can take off and land from a small area. In very simple terms, for the former, you want fixed wings, and for the latter, you want rotors. This problem has resulted in a bunch of weird drones that try to do both of these things at once, usually by combining desired features from fixed-wing drones and rotorcraft. We've seen tail-sitter drones that can transition from vertical take off to horizontal flight; we've seen drones with propeller systems that swivel; and we've seen a variety of airframes that are essentially quadrotors stapled to fixed-wing aircraft to give them vertical take-off and landing capability.
A plane-blimp hybrid that can hover like a helicopter has been revealed by Seattle-based aviation company Egan Airships. The aircraft, dubbed'plimp,' is a new type of Unmanned Aircraft System, or drone, that can maneuver like like a plane, hover, take off and land vertically like a helicopter, and operate like a blimp. The 28-foot (8.5 meter) long aircraft, which can travel at maximum speeds of 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour), could be used for applications such as agriculture, surveying, border patrol and cinema and commercial filming. The aircraft, developed by twin brothers James and Joel Egan, can reach a 500-foot (152-meter) vertical altitude and has a helium-filled blimp to keep it afloat. The aircraft can take-off and land vertically due to the fact that its propellers face up.
Security and surveillance are one of the biggest growth areas in the ever-expanding UAV sector. While it's a relatively recent addition to enterprise toolkits in many industries, the use of drones to provide aerial assessments of activities on the ground is actually a return to form for the technology, which has seen some of its most ambitious development in defense applications. A lineup of aerial hardware stacks to fit a variety of enterprise photography and video use cases. Aerial vehicles can cover vastly more terrain than slower, clumsier ground-based surveillance systems -- which is why they've been a key component of military and law enforcement applications for decades. But drones, which are smaller, cheaper, and more efficient than manned-aircraft like helicopters, have very quickly democratized access to aerial security and surveillance and opened up the skies to companies of all sizes across sectors.
It looks like a Star Trek Bird of Prey, and acts like a drone that terrorists cannot escape: A new military aircraft that's powered by the sun and can conduct missions without landing for 45 days. Airbus Defence and Space calls the new drone the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS), but it's been dubbed the Zephyr. It has satellite-type capabilities like extreme surveillance-- but is on demand with the flexibility and versatility of an unmanned aircraft. Unlike a satellite, the Zephyr can be landed, modified with alternative tech, and quickly re-launched to provide different capabilities as required. The Zephyr could fly without landing to provide the military with non-stop high- resolution imagery for a remarkable month and a half, and it could give teams accuracy down to 6-inch resolution.
A defence company has invented a new futuristic'rifle' that stops rogue drones by hacking into them - and forcing them to fly back to their pilots. DroneShield has developed a software similar to'Google Maps' for drones that instantly locates any drones - and sends them back to their pilots. The firm has previously worked with the British Army and provided assistance to the 2018 Korean Winter Olympics, and their tech is in use at airports. CEO Oleg Vornik remains tight-lipped on the exact cost of the system, but confirmed it ranges from five to seven figures. Mr Vornik also says the system could be used to protect airports from drone incursions - such as the one that brought chaos to Gatwick Airport, bringing it to a standstill for 33 hours before Christmas.