14 SERVO 08.2015
AVERT — which stands for Autonomous Multi-Robot System for Vehicle Extraction and Transportation — is made up of four tiny
robots and a larger deployment unit that lifts vehicles up to two tons.
Fitted with two lasers and a digital camera, the robot scans the area
looking for possible obstacles and plans the safest way to remove them.
The small robots are then deployed and attach themselves to the
wheels of the vehicle that needs extraction. It only lifts the car an inch
off the ground, but that’s enough for the tiny bots to safely move the car.
The device was specifically developed to be used by law
enforcement. AVERT can be used to remove suspicious or obstructing
vehicles from enclosed spaces like buildings, tunnels, underground car
garages, and low bridges. The tiny robots were designed to remove
vehicles from tight enclosures where other tow vehicles can't go.
Since AVERT has delicate handling, there’s no need to worry about
the vehicles getting damaged. In addition, these bots present a safe way
to remove cars that may be carrying explosives or other hazardous materials without human
The system has been in
development since 2012, and
production is expected to
start sometime in 2016.
Battery life is an issue when it comes to drones. Whether it’s a consumer drone, commercial drone, or military
drone, everyone would like these flying bots to be able to stay
in the air for longer.
Boeing might have found a way to do just that. In fact,
they were granted a patent that works only for airship-style
and other buoyant drones.
The patent describes a system that uses tether-equipped
drones that can connect with ground-based power supplies to
recharge them while airborne. When the drone is completely
charged, it continues on its merry way making room for
another drone to use the recharging station.
According to the patent, drones would either come
equipped with a tether that connects to the charging station,
or they’d fly up to a floating tether and connect that way. The
tether can even be connected to moving vehicles, allowing the
drone to charge while flying.
Again, this patent is designed for airship-style drones, so
it might not yet be applicable for the more popular
quadcopter-style consumer drone. It’s just the latest attempt
to improve flying time.
A Singapore-based company called Horizon Unmanned
Systems recently unveiled its Hycopter drone that runs on
hydrogen power and can fly for four hours at a time — 2. 5
hours when carrying a 2. 2 pound payload.
Hycopter uses its frame to store energy in the form of
hydrogen instead of air, eliminating energy storage weight.
system can be
allowing the drone
to charge while