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Weekend Roundup

TWITTER BUTTON HERE by AUVSI News This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World Auburn University used a UAS to deliver the game ball for their game last weekend. The UAS is owned and operated by the university’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Program, which last year became the first program to receive authorization from the FAA to operate unmanned aircraft. ( Auburn Undercover ) Sixty students from Australia, China and California will compete in a UAS life-saving medical challenge near Ipswich, England. Using a radio-controlled aircraft with novel delivery mechanisms, the students will be charged with the task of maneuvering the UAS directly over two hurdles that are laid out on the course in an effort to deliver an Epipen to a mannequin suffering a mock severe allergic reaction. ( The Queensland Times ) Executives from major tech companies believe that to successfully integrate driverless cars onto highways, a lane specifically for these cars should be designed, starting with a 150-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between Seattle and Vancouver. The lanes would start off being a shared HOV lane, but eventually turn into a lane just for driverless cars. ( Business Insider ) On Monday, Washington state officials completed their first industry council meeting regarding drones and related businesses. The council, named the Unmanned Systems Industry Council, is led by the head of Washington state’s Office of Aerospace, John Thornquist. ( Geekwire ) Unmanned Life and Prime Competence have announced the creation of the world's first autonomous drone-based sorting center for the Post NL, a mail, parcel and e-commerce corporation with operations in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. ( Robotics Tomorrow ) Vijay Kumar’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania has created a series of small UAS that are capable of flying through windows all on their own. The UAS accomplish this thanks to technology including an on-board camera, some sensors and a computer chip. ( Quartz ) << Back to the News
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Tweet On Thursday, delivery giant UPS and Massachusetts-based drone maker CyPhy Works successfully tested a UAS making a delivery of medical supplies to an area that is inaccessible by car. During the mock delivery, the UAS, which was a Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) model, successfully flew from Beverly, Massachusetts to Children’s Island, about three miles off the coast, delivering an asthma inhaler to a child in a timely manner. UPS hopes this test can serve as a launching point in its effort to eventually deliver humanitarian aid around the world. “Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, in a company press release . “We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of transportation are not readily available.” CyPhy’s founder and chief technology officer, Helen Greiner, echoed Wallace’s statements by saying, “We’re thrilled to partner with UPS in this endeavor. Drone technology used in this way can save lives and deliver products and services to places that are difficult to reach by traditional transit infrastructures.” Besides hoping to deliver medical materials to places across the world, UPS has also been testing UAS to assist workers in their warehouses. Thus far, it has tested UAS to check tall storage racks to confirm stock or available space. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet The Federal Aviation Administration’s small UAS rule, which went into effect on Aug. 29, is expected to make it easier for many business, particularly small ones, to be able to use unmanned aircraft for their work. However, large companies can also see a benefit, as evidenced by Textron Systems Unmanned Systems’ use of the Part 107 rule to speed the time to market for a new command and control system. The Maryland-based company builds systems, including the Shadow tactical UAS, that have been military workhorses for many years. Yet Gregg Shimp, vice president of engineering for unmanned systems, told AUVSI about how the small UAS rule also allows it to work with smaller systems. Textron bought three different small, commercial-off-the-shelf UAS to help validate software for its new command and control system, which it plans to unveil during the upcoming Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting. That allows testing to be done at the company’s Hunt Valley headquarters, rather than traveling to its Blacksburg, Virginia, location, near the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, the state’s FAA-approved UAS test site. Shimp said the company saw the benefit as soon as the rulemaking process was announced. “We planned to take advantage of this as soon as it was published, we started doing all of the legwork so it was in place. We had the first pilot get there, get his operation certification that first day, and within a few days of that we were doing our first operations,” Shimp said. Eventually, all of the company’s 15 pilots will be certified under the Part 107 rule, he said. We’re trying to get the team up to speed so we can continue to provide those services to the customers, as well as speed our time to market, our time to develop products,” he said. “Anything we can do to shorten that cycle, we’re very interested in. This is a valuable opportunity, because traditionally all we’ve been able to do [at their headquarters] is simulation and the aircraft on the ground on electrical power, doing hardware and software in the loop. To be able to have systems that we can fly here and add that link in the chain, it makes a big difference.” Textron Systems will likely seek FAA waivers to do more complicated testing with its larger Aerosonde UAS, but “for what we’re doing here at the plant, we’re happy with what we’re able to do with Part 107,” Shimp said. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet Bell Helicopter unveiled is new Bell V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor UAS, which, like the existing manned V-22 Osprey, combines the abilities of traditional helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, on Thursday in Washington D.C. One of the most unique features of the new UAS — which was introduced before an audience of aviation and military experts — will be its ability to operate without a runaway because it takes off and lands like a helicopter, allowing it to be used in a variety of scenarios and locations, including maritime environments and shrinking land bases in contested areas. The UAS will have long-endurance (24 hours) persistent expeditionary and surveillance capabilities, as well as a redundant flight control system, and electro optical system and targeting system. It will also include a sea-based platform, so it can work in coordination with DDG guided missile destroyers’ shipboard applications. “The Bell V-247 Vigilant will give military customers the capabilities needed to reduce the complexity of deployment, increase speed of employment, reduce mission times and increase response time — all critical elements to completing missions to save lives and protect our freedom,” said Vince Tobin, vice president, advanced tiltrotor systems at Bell Helicopter. Some of the missions that the Bell V-247 could be used for include electronic warfare, C4 (command, control, communications, and computers) and tactical distribution. The Bell V-247 is expected to be available for production as early as 2023. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Korean Air has signed a memorandum of agreement with Boeing to work together to create new 500MD unmanned helicopters, which will have a number of functionalities, including the ability to perform day and nighttime reconnaissance, surveillance missions and short-distance precision strikes. “With this agreement, Korean Air will be able to create unmanned helicopter business opportunities not only in Korea but also in the international market,” said Myung Rae Ham, senior vice president of Aerospace division, Korean Air, in an article with ETN Global Travel Industry News . “Korean Air and Boeing will fully cooperate in the domestic and foreign unmanned helicopter business and seek to achieve a win-win strategy.” As a part of the MOA, Boeing will supply Korean Air with technical support for flight control and test evaluations. The two companies will also conduct a joint marketing program overseas. The new helicopters will advance upon the technology of the ROK air force’s retired 500MD helicopters, which over the course of two years from 2014 to 2016 were transformed from manned helicopters to unmanned helicopters. Korean Air will soon begin turning these unmanned helicopters into unmanned, armed aircraft, with an expected completion date of 2017. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News A Los Angeles councilmember hopes to turn the city into an “autonomous transit city” by 2035. The councilmember, David Ryu of the 4th Council District, spoke at length about the benefits of having a city that is heavily driverless. “An autonomous transit city has the potential to revolutionize transportation for the better by bringing transportation equity, greatly reducing traffic, and achieving the Vision Zero goal of zero road deaths in the city,” said Ryu via a press release on his government website . “An autonomous transit city would eliminate the biggest drivers of traffic: vehicles circling looking for parking, vehicles blocking the intersection during rush hour, vehicles making last minute lane changes causing rapid stopping, vehicle accidents, and inefficient distances between cars on our roads.” To accomplish his goals, Ryu would like to see autonomous driving companies bring their technology to Los Angeles. That technology includes driverless Ubers, which recently debuted in Pittsburgh last week. “With Uber launching its first autonomous fleet last week in Pittsburgh, Google test driving cars in Palo Alto, and Tesla adding semi-autonomous functionality to its current road vehicles, we need these companies to focus on the largest market and the one that will benefit most: Los Angeles,” Ryu said. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News FlyCam UAV and US Nuclear Corp. have combined to create two unmanned aircraft capable of detecting radiation and chemical leaks. The Cypher 6 hexacopter and the NEO octacopter will come equipped with the DroneRad system, which will detect the leaks. “Sensors mounted on UAVs is the perfect marriage of two technologies that will be a game changer for a variety of different industries,” said Jeri Donaldson, CEO and owner of FlyCam UAV, according to Commercial UAV Expo . “In addition, the need for security is at an all-time high and our technology can remove the human element from a potentially dangerous situation. The practical and potential applications of the Cypher 6 and Neo with US Nuclear Corp.’s DroneRad sensor package are enormous and we have yet to see all of the use cases of the devices.” The two UAS are capable of transmitting data to operators in real time. The data can be tagged with GPS coordinates to tell exact locations, and that information can be stored onboard, with the option to view or download it after a flight. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News PCI Geomatics, which works in the field of remote sensing and photogrammetric software and systems, and UAS maker PrecisionHawk have announced a long-term partnership that will seek to deliver geospatial imagery processing and improved data analytics to PrecisionHawk customers. From an article published by GISuser , both companies expressed excitement about the partnership. “PCI Geomatics is excited to work with PrecisionHawk, a company which has been leading the development of the commercial UAS industry and ensuring that UAS operators and end users can operate in the most efficient manner possible,” said Kevin Jones, Director of Marketing and Business Development at PCI Geomatics. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to work with UAS customers through PrecisionHawk and better understand this exciting new market, and what additional services we should develop next.” Patrick Lohman, VP Partnerships at PrecisionHawk, added, “PCI Geomatics is a proven leader in the remote sensing space, and as we continue to grow our business by making remote sensing accessible through drone technology, they are a valuable asset for our development.” << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Symbotic LLC of Wilmington, Massachusetts, is looking to supply warehouses and distribution centers around the world with autonomous stocking and shifting, in an effort to cut costs related to labor, time and real estate for retailers. As a part of its autonomous system, the company has robots that can freely travel between storage racks, can move up and down aisles to stack and retrieve cases, and can work in collaboration with other robots to perform simple tasks. “What we’re doing with autonomous bots is not that dissimilar from what Google is doing with autonomous cars,” said Rick Cohen, who oversees Symbotic as a part of his larger grocery franchise in New England, C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., in an article with the Wall Street Journal . “I think within five years, it’ll change distribution.” Back in 2014, Symbotic began working with Target. Symbotic’s former chief technology officer Larry Sweet, who helped bring the company’s technology to Target, said that Symbotic saved Target a ton of money and trouble. “Target was going to have to build a new facility in California, which is horrendously expensive. They wanted that facility to handle more volume, but they couldn’t do it. Symbotic was able to put a system in the building that helped that.” Symbotic has agreed to a deal with Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart has expressed interest in the technology as well. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News The Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) has announced a new, five-year initiative to put a fleet of autonomous boats onto Amsterdam’s expansive canal system. The boats will be known as “roboats.” Researchers for the program, dubbed the AMS canal program, will receive $27 million in funding to help with their cause. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and two Dutch universities, the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research, will work in coordination with researchers from the AMS. Carlo Ratti from MIT sees a lot of room for opportunities if this program can get off the ground, or in this case, in the water, successfully. “Imagine a fleet of autonomous boats for the transportation of goods and people,” said Ratti in an article from MarketWatch . “But also think of dynamic and temporary floating infrastructure, like on-demand bridges and stages, that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours.” As Ratti stated, there are a number of possible uses for the boats, but the hope is that these boats can also help with gathering environmental data, such as water quality, air quality and noise. There is also a belief that the boats could help rid the canals of waste and bikes that end up in the water. The AMS would like to have the first prototype ready for the canal system by next year. << Back to the News
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Tweet Safran Helicopter Engines and Urban Aeronautics have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow both companies to explore a variety of potential opportunities, including the potential to develop a new platform of internal rotor aircraft and accompanying technology. “We value the trust that Urban Aeronautics has placed in us,” said Maxime Faribault, executive vice president of OEM sales. “Together we will study new directions for the vertical-lift market and investigate the benefits and the feasibility of new aircraft concepts, particularly those using distributed propulsion.” Rafi Yoeli, founder and CEO of Urban Aeronautics, added, “Partnering with a major aerospace company like Safran will bring valuable expertise and help Urban Aeronautics move from the prototype to the production phase.” The companies hope to create both manned and unmanned aircraft that can be used in urban environments. Some of the types of aircraft that they hope to create are air-taxis, medevacs and transportation vehicles. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet In July, speaking at AUVSI’s and TRB’s Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco , Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx promised a federal automated vehicles policy that would “prepare our ecosystem to integrate these new types of vehicles into the bloodstream of American infrastructure.” Today, the Department of Transportation released that policy, which provides guidance on monitoring and reporting vehicle performance, a model policy for states to avoid having a patchwork of regulation, and some new regulatory tools that will help regulatory agencies stay ahead of the new technology. Speaking in front of a lineup of automated vehicles, including an Audi, Toyota and Cadillac, Foxx said today that “in the 50 years of the United States Department of Transportation, there has never been a moment like this. A moment where we can build a culture of safety as a new transportation technology emerges that harnesses the potential to save even more lives and that will improve the quality of life for so many Americans.” Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI, said in a statement that the policy is “another example of industry and government working together to advance innovations. The guidelines create a flexible framework that is critical to safely accelerate the deployment of automated vehicles and accommodate future innovations. By defining the federal and state responsibilities in regulating automated vehicles, they also provide the regulatory clarity necessary to foster the advancement of this emerging technology.” Most of the document focuses on highly automated vehicles, ones that can take full driving control in at least some circumstances, which is defined as Level 4 automation according to SAE International. The policy leaves it up to automakers to determine the automation levels of their vehicles — where can the operate, under what conditions, and at what speeds — along with a fallback to a “minimal risk condition” if the automation should fail. That doesn’t necessarily mean giving control back to a human driver, who could be sleepy or impaired, but could mean just bringing the vehicle to a stop. Automakers are to voluntarily provide reports on their systems and their adherence to the guidance, although the policy notes that this reporting could be made mandatory in the future. If manufacturers make extensive hardware or software changes to a vehicle, such as ones that increase its speed or expand the types of conditions in which it can operate, the manufacturers would need to submit a new safety assessment for those new capabilities. Automakers also need to have a documented process for testing, validating and collecting crash data or data on other road incidents, which can be used to establish the cause of any problems. That would include “positive” incidents, where an automated vehicle successfully avoids an accident. Vehicle makers will also need systems to allow vehicles to share data, such as on road conditions, but without violating the privacy of vehicles owners. “Data sharing is a rapidly evolving area that requires more research and discussion among stakeholders to develop consensus on data standards,” the policy says. Manufacturers also need to pay careful attention to the human-machine interface, so drivers know when the system is doing the driving...
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Tweet The University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site and the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health recently completed the first successful delivery of simulated medical cargo using an UAS. Using a Talon 120LE fixed wing aircraft, which weighed 22 pounds at takeoff and can fly for more than two hours, the aircraft flew 12 miles, launching from Lusby, Maryland and landing in Cambridge, Maryland. “This is a major achievement for our test site and for the University of Maryland,” said Darryll J. Pines, Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. “What this flight demonstrates is the incredible potential that UAS have in assisting first responders in emergencies. As more of these aircraft enter the skies, demonstrations of their use in service to humanity will grow substantially.” Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Shore Regional Health Dr. William Huffner, added, “Through this partnership with the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, Shore Regional Health was able to explore new ways of providing access to medical care to rural areas of the eastern shore. Being on the forefront of innovation and technology will help Shore Regional Health continue to be the region’s leader in patient centered health care.” According to Matthew Scassero, the Director of the UMD UAS Test Site, the Talon 120LE was chosen because of its “payload capacity, stability and reliability.” Scassero also emphasized the importance of using unmanned systems going forward in the future. “Using UAS for cargo will allow them to operate in tandem with manned aircraft to work together for these types of humanitarian missions and others, such as search and rescue,” he said. Video of the flight can be seen here . << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has unveiled its autonomous heavy machinery at the Xploration Forum in Eskilstuna, Sweden. At the event, the company showcased a L120 wheel loader and an A25F articulated hauler, each upgraded with autonomous technology. The hope of the company is that once these systems become fully functional, they can add autonomous technology to other systems so that they can perform tasks unmanned as well. “The machines can perform the same task over and over again, along a fixed route, for a relatively long period of time,” said Jenny Elfsberg, director of emerging technologies at Volvo CE, in an article with Me Construction News . “But it’s still early days for this technology; we are working on developing solutions that have the required safety and performance levels that the market will accept.” Elfsberg added that the systems can perform monotonous tasks far more efficiently and precisely when autonomous versus when controlled by humans, meaning that customers will see improvements in certain key areas including productivity, fuel efficiency and durability. Elfsberg also sees a scenario in the future where one operator can control multiple machines at one time. Volvo has been doing work in the field of autonomous machine research for more than a decade. The machines are currently being tested in real work conditions, and the wheel loader is currently in use by a Swedish company that works with an asphalt plant. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet DARPA has unveiled Dragnet, a counter-UAS concept that would use persistent surveillance by unmanned aircraft to try to find other UAS that pose threats in complicated urban environments. Through a Broad Agency Announcement, DARPA is calling on industry to create a “threat-agnostic non-line-of-sight” surveillance system, which would would eliminate potential advantages that adversarial UAS have when they attempt to use their surroundings as ways to thwart detection. All potential proposals will have three basic requirements: signal processing algorithms for NLOS detection, tracking, and classification of small UAS; sensor subsystems using low size, weight and power (SWaP) commodity components suitable for mounting on airborne platforms; and a networked multiplatform system for autonomously generating and disseminating a common operational picture (COP) to ground forces in the coverage area. Some components are ready for small UAS today, while others will be available in the future. For the program, designers are expected to improve upon current UAS technology, as opposed to creating their own systems. "In future urban battlegrounds, U.S. forces will be placed at risk by small UAS which use buildings and naturally-occurring motion of the clutter to make surveillance impractical using current approaches," DARPA said in the announcement. "The rapid proliferation of commercial UAS with increasing endurance and payload capacity drives the need for a future urban aerial surveillance system that can detect, track, and classify many different UAS types at longer ranges in urban terrain. An Aerial Dragnet illustration, which can be seen in this post’s main image, shows an ideal proposal for DARPA. The system in the illustration is accompanied with surveillance nodes, and it also comes equipped with the ability to constantly provide an updated COP of the low altitude airspace. The COP will also provide information of UAS in the area, and label them as friends or foes, for accredited users to see. The program will have three phases, each taking place over the course of 15 months. The initial phase will challenge systems to cover a small area of surveillance, with the second phase tripling the first phase’s original coverage area. The third and final phase will triple the second phase’s coverage area, and will test a system’s ability to track attacks from 20 UAS over the span of 24 hours. For the systems that are being created, there is a pricing limit, but exceptional systems that achieve the goals of the program will be accepted as well. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet Israel-based UVision Air Ltd. and South Korea based Firstec Co. Ltd. have agreed to a partnership where Firstec will sell UVision’s short-range HERO-30 Lethal Loitering Systems to their South Korean market. UVision specializes in the field of lethal aerial loitering systems, while Firstec is a Korean manufacturer working in the field of aerospace and aviation. “We are pleased to announce our cooperation with FIRSTEC, a leading and long-established Korean manufacturer in the areas of aerospace and aviation,” UVision CEO Noam Levitt said in a statement. “South Korea is a strategic market for us for two main reasons. First, we have identified a need in this market for systems such as our HERO-30, which can effectively meet the complex and evolving threats faced by South Korea. In addition, we see it as a technology leader in the area and as such, a starting point for the entire Asian market.” Yong Woo Jeon, CEO and president of Firstec, added, “We are proud to represent UVision in Korea – a pioneer in the area of loitering munition systems, and one of the few companies with products in this field that have already been sold and proven. This will be a stepping stone for FIRSTEC in strengthening its position as a leading provider of total unmanned systems in Korea.” The Hero 30 is the smallest system of UVision's HERO family of smart loitering systems. It is primarily used for delivering short range pinpoint strikes in both remote and urban locations where prompt target response and minimizing collateral damage is key. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Weekend Roundup

Tweet This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World New Mexico State University used a UAS last weekend to record the pregame festivities before their football game. The UAS captured video and took pictures of the event, including the main photo accompanying this post. ( New Mexico State University ) Researchers might soon begin using UAS to monitor the waters of Western Lake Erie. Among many potential uses, the UAS could be used for detecting what kind of tiny particles and bits of chlorophyll are in the water, as well as detecting microcystin levels in the water in real time. ( The Blade ) Local Motors and Mouser Electronics are working on an autonomous car concept that will come equipped with a variety of unique features, chief among them, the ability to control outside drones while riding in the car, internet connectivity and projectors that allow for a person to watch whatever they choose on a windscreen in front of them. ( T3 ) A tech startup called Algocian is working on bringing autonomous vehicle technology to smartphones. If all goes well, the company believes that the technology can be used not just for autonomous vehicles, but for security companies as well. ( AutoBlog ) Mercedes-Benz is working on a delivery van that is fully autonomous, meaning that it will load products into the vehicle itself, drive itself and deliver goods to customers. In some cases, an onboard worker will give the goods to a customer, while in other cases, a UAS could make a delivery. ( Irish Examiner ) The U.S. Army is developing a UAS called the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle. As evident by its name, the UAS would be responsible for restocking soldiers on the battlefield with materials quickly. ( Army-Technology ) Wal-Mart is working on “RoboCarts,” which will be autonomous carts that shoppers can request their services, and once they are done with them, the carts will organize and put themselves away. Wal-Mart hopes that the carts might eventually be able to handle more challenging tasks, including moving containers, checking inventories and retrieving trash. ( Business Insider ) An automotive startup called Comma.ai has developed a technology known as a “bolt-on autonomy system,” that will give a car the ability to automatically accelerate, brake and change lanes on the highway. ( MIT Technology Review ) << Back to the News Photo by New Mexico State University/KRWG << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Northwestern University Assistant Prof. Brenna Argall is leading a team of scientists and researchers in an effort to create autonomous wheelchairs for people with severe disabilities. The wheelchairs will be customized with different functionalities depending on the severity of a person’s disability. In order to meet each person’s unique requirements, Argall, who is an assistant professor of Rehabilitation Robotics, and her team are working with modular software and hardware. The modular software will let users decided which autonomous assistance options to pick from and use, while the modular hardware will allow for the addition of sensors depending on a person’s needs. Making a wheelchair to fit a specific person’s needs can be a challenge, but it is one that Argall has fully embraced. “Each person is unique in their personal preferences and abilities, and we need to be responsive to this,” said Argall in an interview with Digital Trends . Argall added, “By making assistive machine easier to control, because they can autonomously control themselves, our goal is to make people with severe motor impairments more able and independent.” Argall hopes that a version of the wheelchair will be available in five years, possibly sooner. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News General Star, a multipurpose insurance company, will now start offering commercial general liability coverage to UAS manufacturers, distributors and operators. The coverage is specifically for small UAS operating under the Part 107 Rule. Most of the coverage options range between $1 million and $4 million dollars a year, but there are higher options available as well. Primary coverage limits generally range from $1 million to $2 million dollars, with higher amounts available, and contingent liability coverage for operators flying on behalf of the insured generally range between $2 million to $4 million dollars, with $10 million-plus options available. “We are pleased to provide our wholesale clients with a policy designed to address the unique hazards and exposures associated with one of today’s top emerging trends — drones,” said underwriter and project leader for General Star Liana Tufariello via a company-issued press release . “The popularity and usage of drones for commercial purposes has exploded, and this is just the type of E&S [excess and surplus] products liability opportunity we are eager to tackle.” Vice President and Casualty Division Manager Cole Palmer adds, “Innovative offerings on new technology devices, or taking a second look for creative alternatives on traditional exposures, will contribute to the growth goals of both our clients and General Star.” Both private industry and commercial users of UAS are eligible for these coverages. << Back to the News
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Tweet There are a variety of ways to teach driverless cars how to operate on the road, but some scientists are now planning to use one of the most popular gaming franchises, the Grant Theft Auto series, in an effort to teach autonomous technology how to function on streets across the world. Several research groups are beginning to use the virtual reality world found in Grand Theft Auto to train computer systems that can power driverless cars. Scientists believe that using a technique called machine learning, driverless vehicles can be provided data that is almost as good as real world imagery. Using a software layer that sits between the game and a computer’s software, labels of cars, pedestrians, and other objects are created and sent to a machine learning algorithm. The system can then begin the process of learning to recognize and identify these different things either on the video game or on a real street. According to the researchers, this way of transmitting information is a lot easier, quicker and cheaper than manually drawing up or creating these same scenarios for learning purposes. A student who recently coauthored a paper detailing the benefits of using video games for training computer systems discussed the new trend. “With artificial environments, we can effortlessly gather precisely annotated data at a larger scale with a considerable amount of variation in lighting and climate settings,” said Alireza Shafaei, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia, in an article with MIT Technology Review . “We showed that this synthetic data is almost as good, or sometimes even better, than using real data for training.” While researches are looking forward to what these games can provide in terms of training computer systems, they do not anticipate that these systems will pick up some of the bad habits, such as speeding and evading police, that are usually associated with the ultra-popular gaming series. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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