Introducing The Flying Drone Blanket 0

Although it’s getting increasingly common to see swarms of illuminated drones being used for aerial light shows, simultaneously charging and launching all of those aircraft can still be tricky. That’s where the Flying Drone Blanket is intended to come in

The “blanket” is being developed by Italian design firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) in collaboration with drone tech firm Flyfire, the latter of which began life as a project spearheaded by the CRA-affiliated MIT SENSEable City Lab.

Each blanket will take the form of a sheet that is folded up and carried in a case, then pulled out, unfolded and laid flat on the ground. Up to 16 system-specific quadcopter drones can subsequently be mounted in the blanket’s square receptacles, all of the copters simultaneously charging their batteries from a linked power source.


Multiple blankets can in turn be linked together, potentially allowing up to 10,000 drones to all be charged and launched at once. Each aircraft disengages from its receptacle by executing a 45-degree twist as it takes off. A twist in the opposite direction re-engages it when it lands for recharging.

The drones themselves feature a sleek design that incorporates an “ultra-bright” multi-color LED panel on the underside. Their movements are coordinated utilizing the existing Drone Show Software system. That being said, the Flying Drone Blanket could be used for more than just light shows.

“With this project, we imagine a near future where drone swarms can be used for multiple purposes – from light shows to mapping buildings with 3D scanning to sensing air and water quality – in a scenario that we might describe as an ‘Internet of Flying Objects,'” says CRA founder Carlo Ratti.

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Meet The New US Navy Helicopter Drone 0

The military branch has declared that Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout has reached “initial operational capability,” or the minimum state it needs to enter service.

The UAV is based on the commercial Bell 407 airframe, albeit with seats and other manned avionics equipment stripped out and replaced with remote controls and extra fuel tanks.

“The MQ-8C will be equipped with an upgraded radar that allows for a larger field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator,” according to the statement. “It will deploy with [Littoral Combat Ship] in fiscal year 2021 while the MQ-8B conducts operations aboard LCS in 5th and 7th Fleets.”

The Navy late last month declared initial operational capability for the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, the service announced today.

More of them planned

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. will build five long-range unmanned helicopters for operation from destroyers and other surface warships under terms of a $55.1 million U.S. Navy contract. The UAV helos includes two lightweight fuel cells. The manned version of the Bell 407 seats seven, can carry a useful load of 2,347 pounds, flies as fast as 140 knots, and has a range of 324 nautical miles.

As noted by the USN, the MQ-8C has flown more than 1,500 hours with in excess of 700 sorties to date. Over the next few years, Northrop Grumman will continue MQ-8C production deliveries to the Navy to complete a total of 38 aircraft.


Flying Into The Fireworks 0

Fireworks may never look the same after you’ve seen them up close, thanks to drone videos like this.


Using a custom made racing drone, the Drone Racing League gives us an inside view of the explosions and a wonderful light show.

Ryan Gury — DRL’s Director of Product stated

“Racing drones are extremely resilient so pilots are more willing to take risks that you can’t do with more expensive equipment, I knew if my drone got hit with a mortar and came down I’d be able to pick it up and repair it quickly. That’s what makes racing drones a bullet-proof way to capture high-velocity media.”

“Racing drones are made to crash, because when pilots are flying through a course they often hit the ground or the wall,” Gury told Inverse in 2018. “Racing drones are super durable, made with thick carbon plates and are able to withstand a ton of impact and in this case projectiles from fireworks.”

Gury’s drone was hit by fireworks multiple times during his stunt flight, but besides being disoriented a few times he says the drone didn’t sustain any notable damage.