Weekend Roundup

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This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

Transport Canada has granted Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) a Compliant UAV Operator Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). DDC says that receiving this additional approval “represents the balance of the remaining two steps of a methodical process to prove the Company’s operational safety practices and our professionalism to Transport Canada.” (Drone Delivery Canada)

In cooperation with Next Future Transportation, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently launched the first tests of the “world's first autonomous pods” on the sidelines of the World Government Summit. Capable of accommodating ten riders, the autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. (Mass Transit Magazine)

The Bend Police Department in Bend, Oregon is utilizing UAS for a variety of operations. Equipped with two UAS, the department has used the technology to locate a woman experiencing a mental health emergency, and to document the scene when a cyclist was killed by a woman driving a truck. (The Bulletin)

The aerospace department at Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) is preparing to take its Geospatial Intelligence Analysis program online this coming fall. NCTC’s aerospace programs train students for a variety of career paths, including UAS technicians. (Northland Community & Technical College)

Through a partnership with scientists from the Cetacean Echolocation Translation Initiative (CETI), the University of Colorado Boulder’s Search and Help Aquatic Mammals UAS (SHAMU) aerospace engineering student team will “design, fabricate and operate” a UAS to locate pods of whales in the open ocean. The UAS will be able to scout for surfacing whales “in excess of 6.2 miles” on either side of a ship, and return and land safely on the ship. (sUAS News)

Self-skiing robots are being showcased in South Korea during the Winter Olympics. Through a competition appropriately named “Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,” eight teams from research universities and one private company competed to see whose self-guided skiing robot could make it down a course the fastest while avoiding obstacles.” (ZDNet)

After signing a contract with Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND), Maxar Technologies' MDA will provide DND with Maritime Miniature Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MMUAS). The MMUAS are expected to extend the reach of the communication and sensor capability “over contentious or hostile areas during maritime security operations.” (MDA)

Altavian, Inc. and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) are working together to help test NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. The two entities will work to develop technology related to UTM while a third partner, iSight RPV Services, will provide flight test services for the project on the Nova F7200 small UAS. (Altavian)

After receiving $954,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense, researchers at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment will work to determine whether UAS can help the military monitor forest fires and manage storm damage at coastal installations. Those researchers will receive assistance on the study from researchers at the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences and a local UAS company called Attollo LLC. (Duke Chronicle)