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Photo: Indra Company by AUVSI News The European ARIADNA consortium, led by the company Indra with participants CRIDA, ENAIRE and Fada-Catec, has completed simultaneous flight tests in a conventional airport of an unmanned aircraft in the presence of a manned aircraft. This test is one of the first instances in Europe of a drone operating in the area of conventional air traffic. The flight program was held at the ATLAS Experimental Flight Center, located in Villacarrillo, Spain. This center has the ability to segregate for such operations. The exercises were carried out in two distinct phases. In the first, a drone called Viewer flew, executing various maneuvers on the airfield while the Indra MRI P2006T manned aircraft operated simultaneously. A controller supervised the operation, giving separation instructions to the aircraft. The drone’s remote pilot, which monitors the aircraft from the ground at all times, had the position data of both aircraft provided by an automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast receptor, thus improving situational awareness of traffic in the area. An additional drone was used in the second phase of flights — an unmanned helicopter called Logo — which validated the feasibility of instrumental approach and landing procedures with vertical guidance based on satellite navigation. << Back to the News
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Photo: CTTSO by AUVSI News AeroVironment Inc. announced today that the U.S. Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) is evaluating the company’s new tethered unmanned aircraft system, named Tether Eye, for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and security applications. The CTTSO funded the development program under a U.S. government contract. The AeroVironment Tether Eye UAS is designed to provide continuous, 24-hour-a-day surveillance at up to 150 feet above its launch point. Tether Eye deploys automatically from a small, weather-sealed, self-contained base station and ascends to a predetermined hover altitude from where viewers of its video feed take advantage of its 360-degree field of view. The specially designed and ruggedized tether connecting Tether Eye to its base station provides continuous power, which, combined with AeroVironment’s track record of proven reliability, enables uninterrupted long-term operation. “Having the ability to deploy a virtual observation tower at a moment’s notice above buildings and vehicles represents a game-changing capability for ISR and security operations that has the potential to save lives,” says Amanda Toman, program manager at the CTTSO. “We look forward to continuing our evaluation of Tether Eye’s capabilities with AeroVironment as a possible deployable capability across government facilities.” Current Tether Eye payloads include electro-optical and infrared cameras and AeroVironment’s encrypted Digital Data Link. The EO/IR camera provides both day and night imagery with full-motion video transmitted directly to a ground control station that operates each platform within AeroVironment’s family of small UAS and tactical missile systems. The DDL integrated to each of AeroVironment’s platforms provides secure communication with the UAS and communications relay with other platforms. “Tether Eye effectively complements our family of small UAS by providing a valuable new capability — continuous ISR and security for buildings or stationary vehicles in defense, security and commercial applications,” says Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its UAS business segment. “We intend to continue developing Tether Eye through to production and include and it as a standard component of our product portfolio. Close communications with our initial customers will guide and inform future enhancements and production releases, resulting in another effective AeroVironment solution that helps our customers succeed.” << Back to the News
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Photo: AATI by AUVSI News American Aerospace Technologies Inc. announced today that it has successfully completed flight tests for the energy industry flying an unmanned aircraft system from the Farmville Regional Airport in Farmville, Virginia. Energy companies and AATI partners interested in testing and evaluating sensors, analytics and aircraft to improve the safety and integrity of our nation’s linear infrastructure, to include oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines, are sponsoring this research through the Pipeline Research Council International Inc. In 2015, AATI conducted two BVLOS UAS flight campaigns on pipeline corridors in Central Virginia under a certificate of authorization issued by the Federal Aviation Administration to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech. The recent flights were also conducted under a new MAAP COA covering an area of nearly 5,000 square miles in Central Virginia. “Virginia offers an incredible environment to conduct the flight testing needed to develop safe and effective beyond line of sight UAS for the energy sector,” says David Yoel, CEO. “The energy infrastructure, the interest and backing of the energy companies, the services offered by the MAAP and the active support of the governor’s office have made this the obvious location to conduct these flight operations.” AATI has been developing sensors and analytics to improve aerial patrol of pipeline corridors since 2010. Until recently, this work focused on machinery threat on standard patrol aircraft. AATI sensors have been flown in manned aircraft for hundreds of hours over thousands of miles of pipeline corridors. More recently, drones have been added to the effort, including long-endurance UAS for pipeline and electrical transmission line patrol and small electric drones for use at facilities and for tower inspection. Along with developing and building systems, AATI provides aerial patrol, mapping, and inspection services using both manned and unmanned aircraft. << Back to the News
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Weekend Roundup

This week in the unmanned systems and robotics world, the Uber revealed its driverless car, an underwater glider found a sea life food repository and SoftBank’s Pepper has a developer kit. According to its website, the Federal Aviation Administration has now approved 5,195 commercial UAS exemptions. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a list of voluntary privacy guidelines for commercial and noncommercial drone users. ( CIO ) Uber has tested its first driverless car in Pittsburgh. ( Vanity Fair ) A telepresence robot for remote ultrasounds has been developed by scientists in Victoria, Australia. The machine would allow for remote diagnostics and also features a sensory feedback loop. ( ABC ) Google has patented an adhesive layer that could be applied to the hood of its self-driving cars that could affix hit pedestrians in place. ( The Drum ) An underwater glider discovered a hidden food foraging area for sharks and whales off the coast of Wales. The project is a part of a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund and the National Oceanography Centre. ( BBC ) SoftBank is opening up its humanoid robot Pepper to developers with a software development kit for Android Studio. ( PC Magazine ) << Back to the News
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Industry supports collaborative effort to promote safe and responsible UAS use ARLINGTON, Va. – Brian Wynne, president & CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), today issued the following statement on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) release of voluntary privacy best practices for the commercial and recreational use of UAS. “AUVSI is proud to have participated in the NTIA process, which brought together stakeholders across the UAS industry and civil liberties organizations. This collaborative effort resulted in best practices that will help facilitate the safe and responsible use of UAS, while also ensuring that the UAS industry continues to grow and thrive. “The work of this presidentially directed initiative provides clear, consistent federal privacy guidance which addresses many of the concerns that have been raised in states and municipalities around the country. Rather than create a complicated patchwork of new laws to address privacy, AUVSI encourages states and municipalities to allow commercial operators to adopt these uniform, federal privacy best practices. Clear, consistent, national frameworks, such as this, are critical for the timely and safe integration of UAS into the national airspace. “AUVSI looks forward to working with the NTIA stakeholders and other UAS industry partners to educate operators and increase public awareness of these federal best practices.” In February 2015, President Obama instructed the NTIA to convene a process to develop and communicate best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency regarding commercial and private UAS use in the National Airspace System (NAS). The privacy best practices released today are the culmination of a multi-stakeholder effort that included industry representatives such as AUVSI, civil liberties groups and other UAS stakeholders.
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Lt. Gen. Otto discusses the Air Force small UAS flight plan. Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr. by AUVSI News The U.S. Air Force wants to move quickly to deploy small unmanned aircraft into its arsenal, to help bolster a service that, after a quarter-century of continuous combat operations, is now “the smallest, oldest and least ready force in its history.” According to a new 2016–2036 “flight plan,” the service has so far missed the boat on the small UAS revolution. “With this nascent capability lying dormant, the Air Force must take significant steps to integrate and institutionalize an airmen-centric family of SUAS systems as exponential force multipliers across the air and cyber domains,” says the flight plan, released May 17. The flight plan was revealed by Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. “The Small UAS Flight Plan outlines a vision and strategy for the continued development, operation and sustainment of SUAS over the next 20 years,” Otto says. “Integrating SUAS into the Air Force’s ISR portfolio enables a more agile force that will help meet future warfighter demands in both permissive and highly contested environments.” The Air Force has traditionally been the home of large UAS systems, such as the Global Hawk, Sentinel and the Predator family. It does own some smaller systems, but they have largely been left to special tactics teams and used for limited objectives. “However, SUAS have demonstrated their potential to execute a much broader range of full-spectrum missions in the future,” the flight plan says. Despite that, the Air Force has no current plans to buy small UAS. Any unit that wants them can buy them, as long as they are cheap enough, but “we must recognize this ad hoc procurement model is an impediment to establishing a healthy, efficient and affordable future SUAS fleet,” the document says. It also says that a single SUAS program office, attached to a major command, would help with acquiring and maintaining these systems. Once it has such systems, the Air Force has some big plans for them, including swarming, using them for teaming operations with manned systems and as part of the “loyal wingman” concept where a manned aircraft could control SUAS to expand their surveillance or even strike capabilities. They could also be used to suppress enemy air defenses; counter small enemy UAS; conduct perch-and-stare missions in remote environments; drop sensors; study the weather and provide over-the-horizon, beyond line of sight reconnaissance, among many others. In the short term, the document says the Air Force must “apply a substantial focus” toward SUAS research and development. Beyond that, it should focus on increasing manned-unmanned teaming, “while maintaining a central theme of enhancing, not replacing, the airmen within the system.” In the long term, beyond the next decade, “airmen will find themselves fully integrated while employing multi-role SUAS across the range of Air Force operations,” the flight plan says. << Back to the News
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Saab's new Sea Wasp ROV. by AUVSI News Saab has introduced Sea Wasp, a remotely operated vehicle equipped with a robotic arm that can relocate, identify and neutralize underwater explosives. At a press conference at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space exposition, Saab’s Bert Johansson, sales director for underwater systems, said the Swedish company built Sea Wasp to meet a broad agency announcement from the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. Saab was “a bit surprised” to win the contract, he said, but in 14 months delivered three Sea Wasp vehicles, which are hybrids of pre-existing technologies based on Saab’s Seaeye line of commercial ROVs. “We can reorganize this technology platform to meet some very specific requirements in a short time,” Johansson said. However, the Seaeye platform had to lose quite a bit of weight, going from around 200 kilograms to only 90 for the Sea Wasp, which needed to be carried by a two-man team. “That turned out to be the single most difficult thing in the whole effort,” Johnasson said. Losing the weight gave the vehicle a very high power-to-weight ratio, allowing it to hold steady in currents of up to 2.5 knots. The Sea Wasps have been delivered to the U.S. Navy EOD Group 2, the FBI’s Counter-IED Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Counter-Terrorist Operations Maritime Response Unit, which will be evaluating and testing them over the next 10–12 months. On the larger end of the scale, Huntington Ingalls Industries showcased Proteus, a much larger unmanned underwater vehicle developed in partnership with Battelle and Bluefin Industries. Proteus can autonomously deliver large payloads over hundreds of miles, including cargo or even up to six human divers. The vehicle on display isn’t a model — it’s the actual Proteus, the only one in existence so far. Steve Somlyody, a senior research scientist for maritime systems at Battelle, said the U.S. Navy has used Proteus for both cargo and diver missions since 2012. The vehicle also recently underwent a 30-day endurance test, where it was continuously powered in a test tank. On the air side, AeroVironment announced that the U.S. Navy plans to deploy Blackwing, a small, tube-launched UAS that can be launched underwater from submarines or unmanned underwater vehicles. It’s a variant of the company’s Switchblade flying munition, although Blackwing would only be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as it carries a day/night camera but no weapons. Blackwing was developed as part of a 2013 Navy and U.S. Special Operations Command-sponsored Joint Capability Technology Demonstration called Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS against Mobile targets, or AWESUM. << Back to the News
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Weekend Roundup

This week in the unmanned systems and robotics world, the LEM-V airship is back at it in England, Airbus wants another chance at the drone market and IBM’s robot lawyer got hired by a firm. According to its website, the Federal Aviation Administration has now approved 5,188 commercial UAS exemptions. The Army airship from its Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEM-V) program is preparing to fly next month in the U.K. ( Defense News ) Airbus CEO Tom Enders wants his company to become a major player in the drone industry, after years of floundering in that space. ( The Wall Street Journal ) A Tesla owner and the company are at odds over whether the driverless car or the user was at fault when the Model S drove into a parked trailer. ( Newser ) IBM’s artificial intelligence lawyer, ROSS, has been hired by BakerHostetler to work in its bankruptcy practice. ( Elite Daily ) Disney Research has made a telepresence robot that uses stereo vision and an air and water hydraulics system for more precise user control. The user wears a head-mounted display to see what the robot sees from its perspective. ( The Verge ) Google has patented a computer system that would control fleets of warehouse robots. The robots would relay updates back to a central control system. ( TechRepublic ) Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created small robotic devices that can retrieve small swallowed items, like batteries. Currently, in the U.S., a child swallows a battery once every three hours. ( The Washington Post ) << Back to the News
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Textron Systems has opened its new unmanned aircraft system training and maintenance facility in Blackstone, Virginia, which will serve as the new home of its training and global service facility for aircraft such as the Textron Aerosonde and Shadow M2. The new, 14,700-square foot facility adds 1,700 square feet and includes three classrooms and two simulator rooms. It also includes an engine test cell; air vehicle test cell; and space for air vehicle assembly, composite structure and engine maintenance, repair, and operations. Textron started operations in the area in 2010 for engineering testing, then started a schoolhouse operation a year later, says Bill Irby, Textron Systems senior vice president and general manager. It expanded in the years after to include such functions as logistics, repair and overhaul, and acceptance testing for aircraft it delivers to the military. There are now about 40 employees at the site, which is named the Unmanned Systems Service and Support Center. “With this expansion, we have the opportunity to train more operators, maintain additional UAS and continue our research on integrating UAS into national airspace,” Irby says. << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News Skycatch, a global leader in commercial drone data software, announced the launch of Commander, its iOS commercial drone mapping app in partnership with DJI. Commander automates data capture with DJI’s latest drones, turning them into professional mapping tools. DJI maintains a 70 percent share of the $2 billion consumer drone market, and its aerial platforms are used by two-thirds of businesses approved by the FAA to operate commercially, according to a company press release. Skycatch built the app using DJI’s open software development kit. “The goal of DJI’s SDK has always been to facilitate the creation of a robust ecosystem of apps, such as Commander,” says Darren Liccardo, DJI vice president of engineering, systems and applications. “Professionals know best what the use case is for our aerial platforms in their specific verticals sectors. Skycatch’s developers have made optimal use of our open APIs with their innovative mapping and modeling application.” Commander will launch with support for DJI Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional, Inspire 1 and the new Phantom 4. DJI drones and Apple iOS devices deliver unparalleled user experiences for both home and commercial users. Commander combines the two with streamlined data capture to further refine the user experience, creating a powerful partnership of aerial data and analytics tools. With Commander, users simply outline the area they want to map, and the app automatically generates the optimal route and autonomously flies it for them. Images are processed into high-resolution maps and 3-D models accessed in the Skycatch Dashboard. Professionals in construction, mining and energy can use Dashboard to inform business decisions and carry out functions such as calculating assets, planning logistics and reporting progress. “Collaboration is essential in helping industry professionals evolve with technology,” says Skycatch CEO Christian Sanz. “Commander opens the doors of aerial data capture so any project manager can become a drone pilot and any job site can benefit from new data sets and improved workflows.” << Back to the News
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Industry-government efforts to detect UAS near airports will enhance safety ARLINGTON, Va. – Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), issued the following statement on the FAA’s Pathfinder Initiative Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with Gryphon Sensors, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion to help develop procedures and technologies to identify unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) near airports. “The collaboration between these companies and the FAA is another example of government-industry cooperation and is an important step towards the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace. Equipping airports with technology that can detect, track, and identify UAS that are flying unsafely or in restricted areas will help ensure the safety of the airspace for all aircraft — manned and unmanned.” In December 2014, AUVSI and the Academy of Model Aeronautics launched Know Before You Fly in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to provide newcomers to UAS with basic safety information. There are now more than 80 retailers, manufacturers, and distributors of UAS, as well as organizations representing the manned aviation community, helping to promote the campaign. For more information, visit KnowBeforeYouFly.org or follow @FlyResponsibly on Twitter.
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Today, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it is adding a new area of research to its Pathfinder programs — efforts aimed at researching issues related to unmanned aircraft systems airspace integration. In a cooperative research and development agreement with Gryphon Sensors, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion, the FAA is evaluating procedures and technologies that will identify unauthorized UAS flights around airports. “Sometimes people fly drones in an unsafe manner,” says Marke “Hoot” Gibson, FAA senior adviser on UAS integration. “Government and industry share responsibility for keeping the skies safe, and we’re pleased these three companies have taken on this important challenge.” The three companies have prototype UAS sensor detection systems that will be evaluated by the FAA at select airports. All airports have a five-mile no-fly zone perimeter for unmanned aircraft. The program is similar to the FAA’s efforts to detect UAS, in a partnership with CACI and the Department of Homeland Security. “The collaboration between these companies and the FAA is another example of government-industry cooperation and is an important step towards the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace. Equipping airports with technology that can detect, track and identify UAS that are flying unsafely or in restricted areas will help ensure the safety of the airspace for all aircraft — manned and unmanned,” said AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne in a statement. << Back to the News
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NEW ORLEANS – At Xponential 2016 in New Orleans, AUVSI announced the official launch of DroneGuard, a UAS insurance program designed for AUVSI members. Developed in partnership with Willis Programs, a unit of Willis Towers Watson, and Global Aerospace, DroneGuard is designed for UAS owners and operators. The program delivers a broad range of coverage in an all-in-one package including protection for physical damage, third-party liability and personal injury, combined with cutting edge risk management services to enhance AUVSI members’ operations, consumer safety and industry reputation. Willis Towers Watson has deep experience serving the aerospace sector and has drawn on its industry expertise in developing DroneGuard. The program is underwritten through Global Aerospace, a premier provider of aerospace insurance worldwide and a pioneer of insurance solutions for unmanned aircraft systems. “This unique product underscores Willis Programs’ commitment to innovate and deliver the best solutions possible to clients,” said Tom Coughlin, national partner of Willis Towers Watson. “We are excited to introduce DroneGuard to our portfolio of successful insurance programs.” Chris Proudlove, senior vice president, Global Aerospace, said, “We are very excited to partner with AUVSI and Willis Programs to provide a market-leading insurance product for UAS. With the extraordinary growth of commercial UAS in the United States, the time is right to bring DroneGuard to market. Featuring integrated safety assurance and risk management, DroneGuard will help AUVSI members grow their businesses with the knowledge that they are protected by an insurance program tailored to their exposures.” DroneGuard UAS insurance is currently available through retail brokers. AUVSI members operating in the United States are eligible to apply. Please visit www.droneguardinsurance.com for more information.
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Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video. by AUVSI News Microdrones (Booth #881) doesn’t always go small. A larger engine on its new MD4-3000, slated for sale mid-summer, allows it to churn at a 2,000 rpm — much lower than the norm — and reach speeds of 60 mph at high altitude. Three propellers per engine add to the stability. “The blades also quite long, compared to other systems,” says Sebastien Long, sales manager. “Because it’s operating at a lower rpm, it’s easier for the engine to compensate, for gusty winds, for example.” The top of the copter’s dome and both arms are curved like airplane wings, a patent-pending design that creates lift. Powered by an electrical brushless system to eliminate friction, the MD4-300 can carry a 15-pound payload for more than 45 minutes. “It’s the first drone we’ve done with that design,” says Long. “From what we know now, we’ve never seen anyone else doing it.” Microdrones is yet to release a price point on its new quadcopter. Most of the components are hand-built in Germany, where the company is based. << Back to the News
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Photo: UAV Solutions. by AUVSI News UAV Solutions (Booth #1537) says it has operated its Phoenix ACE LE small UAS beyond line of sight by using a 4G LTE cellphone network. The company flew the Phoenix ACE on four 50-minute flights using a standard data plan, a modified set of avionics and a 4G LTE modem, which enabled the operator to fly it from more than 60 miles away. “Applying 4G LTE technology for the flight of unmanned systems allows the proficient user to operate from anywhere on the globe with the assistance of a technician on the ground and a cellular network,” says Bill Davidson, CEO and chief engineer. “Future possibilities for this technology include remote unmanned inspection stations.” << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News Wildland fire managers need to be able to direct their firefighters away from volatile fire lines. They need to mark where homes are, too, to evacuate. Both require radar to see through smoke, but radar typically gives a still image that’s been stitched together from strips or lawnmower pattern flown in the air. Goleta Star (Booth #1929) has developed a radar system with a spotlight video mode. Attach the unit to an unmanned — or manned — craft, program it to fly in a circle with a radius of 2.5 kilometers, and the system returns a live video of the area. The company has a working prototype and expects to go into production in 2017. “So if you had firefighters at a particular area, you would point the radar at a particular spot and you could watch them,” says Scott Darden, Goleta Star’s senior signal processing engineer. “This is a persistent vision technique.” Goleta Star received development funding from the Department of Defense. “Now the question is, is there a civil market,” says Michael Naderhirn, the company’s head of business development Forestry agencies have expressed interest, as have coastal authorities. In June, Goleta Star is participating in Coastal Trident, a joint first responder exercise, in Southern California to test its ability to find and track illegal ocean vessels. << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News The U.S. Army’s first new formation of manned-unmanned teaming units, a Heavy Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, recently returned from combat overseas, broadening the service’s use of the technique where unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft or ground troops can share information, including video streams. It is “certainly not the first time that we’ve done manned-unmanned teaming in any of the operational theaters, but it’s the first time that there’s a unit deliberately formed in a manned-unmanned teaming construct and deployed over into a combat theater,” said Col. Courtney Cote, project manager at the Army’s UAS Project Office, in a briefing with Unmanned Systems: Xponential Edition. “So those people live, work, all their mission command comes from the same place. They train together. They live together,” Cote says. “Before it was the just the mating of two … formations that came from two different organizations who were put into the same battlespace and said, operate together.” The Army has also been updating much of its unmanned aircraft inventory, including buying new Gray Eagle UAS that will have an extended range, fielding the new version of the venerable Shadow tactical UAS, moving its rucksack-portable small UAS to a new frequency band and seeking candidates for a new micro UAS. The improved Gray Eagles were funded in 2015 and will have an improved fuel tank, some aerodynamic changes and a returned engine. The Army is building four of the first aircraft now and doing engine testing. Ultimately, it plans to buy 36. << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News Ocean Aero (Booth #1475) is debuting an unmanned solar- and wind-powered watercraft that can get out of harm’s way — by diving underwater. The Submaran S10, which went on sale this spring, is intended primarily for surface operations, but, should people or craft pose a threat, it can fold up its sails and submerge to a depth of 10 meters, “to get out of the weather or out of way,” says Ken Childress, Ocean Aero’s vice president. “It’s unique in its class.” The S10 spent three and a half years in development and is the first vessel from the San-Diego based company. At 14 one-fifth feet long, it weighs just under 300 pounds loaded and can carry a 50-pound payload. The design is also scalable to accommodate much larger sizes and various applications. Ocean Aero is responding to requests from organizations in research, military, oil and gas, fishing and construction, and expects to build as many as 20 boats this year. The S10 sells for between $300,000 and $400,000. << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News Argonne National Laboratory (Booth #2425) is displaying prototype batteries, pouch cells and 18650 cells, common for lithium-ion batteries. “As we invent new materials and evaluate new systems, we’re using industry-standard sizes to do testing on, so that we can compare this data to what’s out in industry,” says Argonne’s Bryant Polzin. “We then do an apples-to-apples comparison to show performance improvements in the systems that we’re improving.” Argonne develops more robust, safer and higher energy density lithium-ion batteries while using fundamental science to develop storage materials that dramatically increase storage capacity and power densities. Argonne also does research at their lithium testing-designed facilities, where researchers dissect, harvest, and analyze battery materials from used and previously tested battery cells. The PTF is one of the few research facilities in the world that is capable of conducting the type of research Argonne does, says Polzin — being able to handle cells up to 300 ampere-hours, while similar facilities are typically limited to about one to two ampere-hours. << Back to the News
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by AUVSI News Often forgotten is that people confined to wheelchairs might also have difficulties with their arms or hands. The elderly and infirm in nursing homes, for example, are pushed to the cafeteria, pushed to the rec room, pushed back to their room. The chairs are already electric — can’t they drive themselves around? 5D Robotics (Booth #2549) has partnered with WHILL, a personal mobility device company, to do just that. WHILL’s power wheelchair, the Model M, uses a 5D platform that allows a user to easily create a virtual path. Here’s how simple it is: give an aide — or the wheelchair user — an electronic tag to hold, then walk or ride the path. “People can get in a cart and press a button, and it will take them down the hall to eat,” says Brian Aker, director of operations. “A worker doesn’t have to push them.” The program uses 5D’s UWB Positioning (ultra-wideband technology), which provides precision location to five centimeters; Virtual Rail, a precise electronic path; Follow technology, which can enter a target location; and Guarded Motion, a collision-avoidance system that prevents the user from striking anything that wanders into its path. “There are airports that are interested in it,” says Aker. Warehouses, or any site with robots programmed on a set route, could replace the expensive system of relaying magnetic tape. “It can be used on cars, drones, anything,” Aker says. In other news, last week 5D announced the formation of a new 5D Aerial division, created with the acquisition of the industrial assets and intellectual property of Aerial MOB, an aerial cinematography company. The new division will provide 3-D mapping, photogrammetry, and thermal and multi-spectral imagery data for oil and gas, utilities, construction and other commercial applications. Aerial MOB’s Treggon Owens joins 5D Robotics as chief innovation officer. << Back to the News
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