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Tweet As a part of its preparation for the low-rate production of its Fury UAS, Lockheed Martin is regularly flying the Fury UAS as a part of long-range endurance test missions, at the company’s operating base in Arizona at the Yuma Proving Ground. The Fury UAS, which is an advanced tactical Group 3 UAS, has flown more than 200 hours, and demonstrated more than 12-hour endurance, since May 2016. While conducting these flights, the UAS operates 100 pounds of payloads. Some of the payloads included during these flights are multiple signals intelligence payloads, SATCOM links, and electro-optical/infrared surveillance systems. The Fury UAS can efficiently handle a variety of missions, thanks to its ability to support multiple payload integration. “These flight tests have consistently proven that Fury is a true ‘anytime, anywhere’ tactical Group 3 aircraft,” says Director of Unmanned Systems at Lockheed Martin, Kevin Westfall, through press release . “Fury can be deployed to execute strategic and tactical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions with endurance and capability previously found only in Group 4 systems.” Westfall adds that Lockheed Martin is in a position to “quickly deliver Fury and to rapidly scale up to full-rate production needs,” thanks to the infrastructure in place at the company’s manufacturing facilities. Lockheed Martin is in discussions with potential customers domestically and internationally. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Lockheed Martin << Back
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Tweet During Uber’s Elevate Summit in Dallas, Uber announced that it will partner with Aurora Flight Sciences to develop an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for its Uber Elevate Network. The goal of the partnership is to develop a system of urban transportation where Uber Elevate Network users can request an Aurora eVTOL aircraft through Uber’s computer or mobile software applications. “The Uber Elevate mission is all about low noise, high reliability, and low cost,” says John Langford, CEO of Aurora, through press release . “By drawing on our nearly 30 years of successful autonomy and robotic programs, Aurora is well positioned to deliver on this urban solution. We have already built and flown the first proof-of-concept aircraft and we’re excited to partner with Uber in accelerating the eVTOL initiative.” Mark Moore, Director of Engineering for Uber, adds, “Uber is taking a big step forward toward making the world’s first VTOL network a reality and our partnership with Aurora Flight Sciences will help get us off the ground.” “The Elevate VTOL network will help improve urban mobility around the world and transform the way we travel.” The eVTOL concept is derived from other autonomous aircraft that Aurora has developed over the years, as well as from the company’s XV-24A X-plane program, which is currently underway for the U.S. Department of Defense. Technologies such as the autonomous flight guidance system from Aurora’s Centaur optionally piloted aircraft, the battery electric propulsion system from the XV-24A demonstrator, and the perception and collision avoidance system from the AACUS program, have all been adapted and combined to create the design of the eVTOL concept.  Aurora completed its first successful test flight of the eVTOL aircraft on April 20. Aurora is confident that it can deliver 50 aircraft for testing by 2020. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Aurora Flight Sciences << Back
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Tweet by AUVSI News   Hanover, Massachusetts has become the first town in the state to have UAS operations approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Through the UAS program that was approved, unmanned systems can be used around town for a variety of tasks, such as keeping law enforcement safer in dangerous situations, helping to locate missing children, and inspecting tall buildings, according to town officials.  Through MassLive , Town Manager Troy Clarkson says, “the approval of our drone program is just another way we're bringing efficiency, technology, and collaboration to our citizens.” Some residents of Hanover are nervous about the new technology, but others, such as Steve Watson, are excited to see what the UAS can do around the town, and believe that unmanned systems can be an invaluable asset in Hanover. “In some kind of difficult terrain, you could fly a drone in there and see exactly what do I need to do,” Watson says via New England Cable News . “Instead of sending a person down, you could send a drone in there to survey the situation and then respond with the proper tools.” So far, six town employees are licensed to operate UAS. As of right now, there is one UAS in the town, and there are plans to acquire more to expand the fleet. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   In the next few months, the Unmanned Influence Sweeping System (UISS) will begin developmental testing, with the inclusion of AQS-20 and AQS-24 sonar systems, which are minehunting technologies. According to deputy program manager of Unmanned Maritime Systems, Howard Berkof, the systems not only provide electro-optical minesweeping capabilities, but also faster and higher-resolution images for minehunting. The UISS is made up of a USV and a minesweeping payload that is built for “influence sweeping of magnetic, acoustic and magnetic/acoustic combination of mine types.” A modified Mk-104 acoustic device is towed thanks to the inclusion of a specialized magnetic cable included in the UISS payload.  This allows the UISS to replicate a ship’s sounds and magnetic signatures, which tricks mines with influence sensors into harmlessly detonating, thanks to the explosion being triggered when they sense a ship.  “The concept is to keep the ship and its sailors out of the mine field and enable unmanned systems to find, identify, and clear mines, so that we can continue our operations and do whatever we need to do in that water way,” Berkof says via Defense Systems . Colleen E. O’Rourke, an official at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), says that “the inherent modularity of the [UISS] USV allows swapping of payloads to change from a minesweeping mission to a minehunting mission.” O’Rourke continues by saying, “minehunting and minesweeping are complementary techniques. Minehunting employs a sonar to detect, classify and identify mines. The sonar “sees” the mine and localizes it for either neutralization by another MCM system or for avoidance. Influence minesweeping employs systems designed to trigger mine detonation.” Featuring electro-optical sensors, the AQS-20 sonar is capable of collecting the exact locational data on mines that are undersea. Through research conducted by BAE Systems, they have determined that long-range naval thermal imaging and infrared laser systems can be used thanks to electro-optic capabilities. This likely allows for an increase in accuracy and image quality of mine detection data. The current design for the AQS-24 is designed for the MHU Class 2 (small) USV. It has been described as the “only high-speed surface-towed minehunting system that is operationally proven,” by Northrop Grumman. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the AQS-24 uses high-speed synthetic aperture radar, “which provides a higher resolution by emitting multiple rapid pings at varied frequencies whose data can then be combined to achieve the effect of having a longer sonar array, or aperture.” During testing, the Navy will look into the possibility of integrating both the AQS-20 and AQS-24 towed sonar systems with the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) “truck” for the next generation of the UISS. “The UISS program consists of the MCM platform … and when we decide ‘OK, that’s good to go,’ then we start putting different payloads on there,” Berkof says. “One is the AQS-20 towed sonar and the other is the AQS-24 towed sonar and those are two UISS programs of record.”  The UISS is a part of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) portfolio. The LCS is the first class of ship designed with unmanned vehicle integration in mind from its initial construction, according to Berkof. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   The Duncan Police Department in Duncan, Oklahoma, has acquired a DJI Inspire “quadcopter” UAS to provide an aerial view during a variety of missions, including those involving floods, search and rescue operations and grass fires. The UAS has a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera, which can pick up thermal images of people on the ground, even those who might be hiding in bushes or under trees. The UAS also comes with two iPad mini computers, which can be taken aloft and used to take pictures in real time that are viewable by officers on the ground. Last year, UAS proved their worth in the city of Duncan when they were used to help in the search for a missing boy with autism. Several volunteers contributed UAS during a search period that lasted nearly two weeks, and the UAS were said to have “helped immensely.” It was around this time that members of the local Kiwanis Club made a financial contribution towards the purchase of a UAS for the department. “We watched all of the man hours that went into it and saw their attitudes and work ethic, and we just wanted to show our support,” says Kiwanian Chris Genn, via the Lawton Constitution .  It cost $2,000 to purchase the UAS and its accompanying equipment. << Back to
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Tweet Rockwell Collins has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help protect platforms against cyber attacks, using mathematics-based development methods. The techniques are responsible for securing platforms operated on land, in the air and at sea. The techniques were developed by Rockwell Collins and its partners in DARPA’s High Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program. The Rockwell Collins HACMS team includes Galois, Data 61, HRL, and the University of Minnesota. “In today’s highly connected world, land, air and sea platforms can fall victim to cyber attack,” says vice president of the Advanced Technology Center for Rockwell Collins, John Borghese, through press release . “HACMS provides peace of mind and high assurance that these systems are resistant to a cyber attack.” To achieve a high level of cyber-resilience, the Rockwell Collins HACMS team developed technologies such as a secure microkernel, an automatic generation of the application code, and architectural modeling and analysis. To make sure that there is an absence of vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of during a cyber attack, each of these technologies uses mathematical reasoning, which improves the safety and security of important electronic systems in platforms for the military, as well as those used commercially. During an April HACMS program demonstration in Sterling, Virginia, platforms equipped with this technology were displayed, including an unmanned helicopter, a small UAS, and an enhanced soldier vision helmet. The HACMS technologies will have an initial application when they are applied in support of U.S. Navy programs. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Rockwell Collins << Back
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Apr. 24, 2017 Contact: Tom McMahon, tmcmahon@auvsi.org , (571) 255-7786 AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 Converges on Dallas, May 8 to 11, 2017 Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore to host program with thought leaders including Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and more sharing actionable intelligence ARLINGTON, V.a. – With the market for unmanned systems – including drones and robotics – poised to experience huge growth, industry thought leaders will come together to discuss the technologies, trends, and regulatory moves that will drive innovation and revenue when the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL 2017 show kicks off at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas from May 8 to 11, 2017. “We are entering a period of rapid, unprecedented growth in the unmanned systems industry,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “At XPONENTIAL, we have gathered the industry’s thought leaders, along with innovators across various vertical markets who have abundant experience leveraging the power of unmanned systems to revolutionize their sectors. From the exhibit hall, to the keynote stage, to our educational sessions, attendees will gain valuable insight, learn from real-world case studies and get a glimpse into the future.” Keynote Program AUVSI‘s Wynne will open the program on Tuesday, May 9, at 8:30 a.m. CDT, followed by Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich, who will deliver the show’s opening keynote, discussing the future of drones and other unmanned systems, and the technology innovations that will impact development. Keynotes on Wednesday, May 10 will begin at 8:30 a.m. CDT and focus on regulatory issues and innovation. FAA Administrator Huerta will start the day’s program, followed by Dirk Hoke, CEO, Airbus Defence and Space, and Brian Chappel, Sector Vice President and General Manager, Autonomous Systems, Northrop Grumman. On Thursday, May 11, keynotes will resume at 8:30 a.m. CDT, with Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, who will address the state’s initiatives to drive innovation in the unmanned systems sector. That will be followed by a keynote panel session including Brad Tomer, Chief Operating Officer, Avitas Systems, a GE Venture, and other enterprise leaders. This visionary discussion will focus on why early-stage users are investing in unmanned systems, how customer-focused partnerships are facilitating adoption, and what the long-term impacts could be for business operations. Start-Up Showdown Showcasing the future of innovation across the unmanned systems and robotics ecosystem, XPONENTIAL will host the Start-Up Showdown . Sixty-five startups submitted their products and services for consideration. The companies represented diverse applications of unmanned systems technology, such as hybrid power sources, advanced imagery payloads and autonomous wireless power. The 16 semi-finalists will compete in a closed, knockout round at XPONENTIAL, with three finalists emerging to compete in the live Startup Showdown. Each finalist will have six minutes to make their final presentation, followed by an additional six minutes of Q&A. The judges will announce the Startup Showdown winner at the conclusion of the session. Conference Program XPONENTIAL boasts an extensive conference program , with sessions of interest across a range of industries. Among the program’s participants are thought leaders from government ...
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Tweet by AUVSI News   Between April 17 and 19, UAS were used during a search and rescue mission at the Grand Canyon. To date, it was the most extensive use of UAS by the National Park Service during a search and rescue mission. The UAS were used to search for two hikers who disappeared at the bottom of the Grand Canyon: 62-year old LouAnn Merrell, and her 14-year old step grandson, Jackson Standefer. During the search, an inflatable motor boat, a helicopter and three ground search teams of about 20 people in total were also on hand. Unfortunately, Merrell and Standefer were not located, but people involved with the search efforts say that the technology proved its worth by flying into tight areas and other spaces unreachable by foot. “Our historic model was to take the helicopter to look and see,” says Grand Canyon chief ranger Matt Vandzura, through ABC News . Vandzura continues by saying that now UAS can offer “that same close look but without putting any people at risk. It has dramatically increased our ability to keep our people safe.” James Doyle, a spokesman for the park service's Intermountain region, adds, “it's a wonderful tool for the unfortunate situation we just found ourselves in at Grand Canyon.” UAS have been used for other missions before, such as last November, when UAS were used to make sure that it was safe for a helicopter to fly to the location of a car to retrieve it, after a visitor drove off a cliff and died. Last December, a UAS was used to locate the body of a woman who jumped to her death. After locating the body, rangers rappelled down and retrieved it. Other national parks use UAS, but primarily for wildlife research. The Grand Canyon is unique because it is the only national park with its own fleet of UAS for locating missing people, as well as those who have been injured or killed. In total, the Grand Canyon has five UAS and four certified operators, thanks to a program that was launched last fall. << Back to
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Tweet On April 21, Northrop Grumman opened a new facility at the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park, that will be dedicated to the development of autonomous systems and other capabilities. The facility is 36,000-square feet, and is located near Grand Forks, North Dakota. In attendance for the opening ceremony were representatives for Senators and a Congressman, as well as other state and local dignitaries. Other attendees included United States Air Force personnel, community leaders, Red River Valley advocates, and several executives from Northrop Grumman. A ceremonial ribbon was cut to signify the opening of the building. “We are delighted to officially begin operations here at Grand Sky cementing our leadership in the development and use of autonomous systems in partnership with North Dakota’s UAS community,” says corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Janis Pamiljans, via press release . “The important work performed at Grand Sky will support the evolving needs of our customers while advancing research and development of our autonomous systems capabilities for today and the future.” Northrop Grumman also has plans on building a hangar so that it can take advantage of the Park’s access to the adjacent Grand Forks Air Force Base, which is home to a squadron of RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS. The Grand Sky facility is Northrop Grumman’s second major facility in North Dakota, as the company also has a manufacturing site in New Town, North Dakota that has been in continuous operation for more than 45 years. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Northrop Grumman << Back
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Tweet by AUVSI News   Sky-Futures has officially launched its Flightdeck platform, which is the latest addition to the Expanse software suite for professional UAS missions. Using Flightdeck, UAS operators can safely plan and execute commercial UAS flights, thanks to the integrated cloud-based platform. Flightdeck, which can be used by any UAS type, also allows UAS operators to manage pilots, UAS equipment and mission information, all in one place. “The Expanse Flightdeck platform is the next tool supporting our clients with an end-to-end solution for their professional drone operations,” says Sky-Futures COO Chris Blackford through press release . “Flightdeck delivers drone mission planning, complemented with the AirMap airspace management platform.”  Thanks to being powered by AirMap, which is the world’s leading airspace management platform, Flightdeck can provide operators with all kinds of situational awareness, including airspace rules, requirements, and temporary restrictions. “We’re excited to welcome Sky-Futures to AirMap’s community of drone manufacturers, developers, and innovators,” says AirMap’s CEO Ben Marcus. “With Flightdeck, drone pilots can benefit from both Sky-Futures’ expertise in managing commercial drone operations and AirMap’s tools for situational awareness. The result: more informed operators and safer, more efficient flights.” << Back to
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Weekend Roundup

Tweet This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World 360 Designs has released its Flying EYE UAS, which is a virtual reality (VR), live-streaming UAS that is based on the DJI Matrice 600 series of UAS. The Flying EYE is capable of broadcasting a live VR stream to various platforms such as YouTube, Facebook or VR headsets, thanks to Breeze, which is 360 Designs’ custom wireless transmission system. The UAS is also suited for 360-degree video, and also has applications for traditional TV broadcasting. ( Unmanned Aerial ) The cities of Sacramento and Portland are each interested in bringing driverless vehicles to their respective cities. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Rep. Doris Matsui recently held an invitation only meeting with several manufacturers, entrepreneurs, regulators and business community members, to express their desire to offer the Sacramento streets as a proving ground for driverless vehicle technology. In Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler and Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman have asked Portland’s Bureau of Transportation to develop a set of rules (within 60 days) for the testing and deployment of driverless vehicles. The city also has plans to work with autonomous vehicle companies to see how these vehicles can help with the city’s desire to reduce carbon emissions, while also addressing the needs of residents. ( Sacramento Bee and Geekwire ) The city of Bowling Green in Ohio will begin using UAS to help assist with engineering projects. The staff of Geographic Information System will use a DJI Phantom 4 Pro UAS for projects involving tasks such as waterline replacements and road repaving. The UAS will be used only over the public right-of-way, with images taken straight down. Private property will not be flown over or mapped. ( Sentinel-Tribune ) The Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales will start using a UAS from the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) to help with aerial policing. Since October 2015, the MAWWFRS has used UAS to help with tasks such as searching for missing people, house and wildfires, and chemical incidents. According to Police Sergeant Chris Neve, it is important for emergency services to “work together and work smarter” for the best interest of the public, especially since there have been budget cuts in recent years. ( Western Telegraph ) As a part of its emergency response services, which can include the rapid mapping of oil spills and pipeline inspections for large surveys, Trumbull Unmanned will begin using SimActive Inc.’s Correlator3D, which is powered by GPU technology and multi-core CPUs. The Correlator3D, which is an “end-to-end photogrammetry solution for the generation of high-quality geospatial data from satellite and aerial imagery, including UAVs,” performs aerial triangulation (AT), and produces point clouds, digital terrain models (DTM), and digital surface models (DSM). ( SimActive ) Georgia Tech won the first ever Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship, and in the process, picked up more than $15,000 worth of equipment and prizes. Georgia Tech beat out 26 other universities, and in total, 48 pilots competed using their homemade UAS. The University of California, Berkeley came in second place, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona came in third place. Purdue University, which hosted the event, came in fourth place. ( Purdue University News ) << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Liaison ...
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Tweet by AUVSI News   Dripping Springs, Texas-based MFE Rentals Inc., which is a provider of inspection equipment, will start selling Flyability’s collision-tolerant UAS, the Elios, at its various locations, expanding the market for the Elios across the United States. Thanks to its carbon-fiber structure, and its LED lighting and thermal imagery components, Flyability’s Elios UAS is capable of operating in different environments such as the inside of a tank, and in complete darkness.  “Flyability, our customers and the MFE Rentals team are always seeking new technology to reduce inspection costs and, most importantly, preserve life and limb," says Dylan Duke, vice president of MFE Rentals,  through Unmanned Aerial . "The Elios collision-tolerant drone meets and exceeds these demands.” Flyability CEO Patrick Thévoz adds, “Flyability is actively developing a network of global resellers to allow our customers throughout the globe to access our technology more easily. MFE rentals will allow us to maintain a fast, high-quality service to our North American customers and speed up adoption in the huge U.S. industrial inspection market.”  << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   BNP Media, which has served multiple industries with its business-to-business publications since 1926, has launched Autonomous Vehicle Technology, which is a new brand focused on the business-to-business autonomous vehicle industry. According to BNP Media, Autonomous Vehicle Technology is the first brand that has a specific focus on “covering the connectivity, advanced electronics, mobility services and collaboration that will comprise the age of autonomy.” “We are thrilled to be the first brand to dedicate itself, online and in print, to the advanced technologies underpinning the rapidly emerging driverless vehicle industry, as we provide a broad range of information, educational, networking and market research resources to this sophisticated audience,” says Harper Henderson, BNP Media Co-CEO and Publisher, via press release . “We are excited to be a part of these changes as Autonomous Vehicle Technology informs the people forging these transformations in vehicle safety, productivity and convenience.” Autonomous Vehicle Technology’s Editorial Director Kevin Jost adds, “autonomous vehicles will revolutionize transportation in many ways and promise to foster the growth of new businesses and industries, while all parties—product developers and manufacturers, engineers and researchers, regulators and consumers—rethink our relationship with the automobile and what it means ‘to drive.’” Autonomous Vehicle Technology has launched its website, www.autonomousvehicletech.com , and next month, it will start releasing an e-newsletter twice a month. In January 2018, Autonomous Vehicle Technology will launch its monthly print magazine. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has selected the state of Mississippi as the new base of operations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), and Mississippi State University (MSU) has been selected to lead a research and development project for the DHS. With a goal of offering support for the operations and training of homeland security, the new facility, which will be known as the DHS S&T Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Demonstration Range Facility, will be the home for UAS flight and exercise support facilities, which will provide support for the operational evaluation of UAS in different scenarios and applications. The facility is expected to utilize approximately 2,000 square miles of restricted airspace at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. “We anticipate the new DHS demonstration range facility will be an additional asset in the State of Mississippi’s overall economic development focus on advanced technology and highly-skilled jobs,” says MSU’s vice president for research and economic development David Shaw through press release . The initiative will be overseen by a partnership led by Mississippi State. The partnership will also include NASA’s Stennis Space Center, the Mississippi National Guard’s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, the Jackson County Port Authority and the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission. The partnership’s members will provide facilities, expertise and personnel to give various DHS agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the ability to conduct specialized evaluation and training. The offerings from the partners will also allow the DHS S&T to conduct various forms of training and exercises for simulated scenarios such as disaster relief, highway and rail accidents, and containment of hazardous materials spills. The state of Mississippi, and MSU, have both been active in the UAS industry over the past few years through a number of different programs and initiative, and Dallas Brooks, director of MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, believes that the state and MSU are both well positioned to continue productive work locally, for a national cause. “Mississippi is fast becoming the nation’s hub as public and private partners work to successfully — and safely — integrate UAS into our national airspace system, and Mississippi State is leading the way,” Brooks says. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   With the idea of building a “collaborative ecosystem” to develop autonomous vehicle technology more speedily, Baidu, a Chinese-American web services company, will allow members of the automotive industry to use its driverless technology, so that those members can develop and power their own autonomous vehicles. Starting in July, Baidu’s partners in the auto industry will have access to Baidu’s technology, which is known as Apollo, giving the partners access to a variety of tools for vehicle control, obstacle perception, trajectory planning, and operating systems.  Via ZDNet , Baidu COO Qi Lu says, “China is the world's largest market for automotive sales and production. It has many car brands and an open environment that is ripe for collaboration.” Baidu began developing driverless vehicles back in 2015, and since then, the company has tested its vehicles on the roads of Beijing and Wuzhen. They have also tested their vehicles in California, after receiving a permit to do so from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in January. Baidu is hopeful that driverless vehicles equipped with its technology can see urban roads towards the end of the year, and highways and open city roads by 2020. Over the last couple of years, Baidu has been working with several companies, such as BAIC Motor Corp, which is a passenger vehicle manufacturer. After agreeing to a partnership earlier this year, the two plan on creating a BAIC-built vehicle that includes Baidu’s telematics solutions. Last year, Baidu and Nvidia partnered to combine Baidu's cloud and mapping technology with Nvidia's self-driving computing platform, in an effort to create an algorithm-based operating system that is capable of powering autonomous vehicles’ navigation systems. The two companies have been testing autonomous vehicles in various Chinese cities. Baidu also formed a self-driving team in Silicon Valley in 2016, with a focus on the research, development, and testing of driverless vehicles. That team is also a part of the Baidu Autonomous Driving Unit, which operates in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   Airbus Helicopters and the Singapore Post (SingPost) have agreed to a partnership to jointly work together on an experimental project called “Skyways,” with an ultimate goal of creating a UAS parcel delivery service for urban environments, such as Singapore. For this project, Airbus Helicopters is the overall system architect and provider for Skyways , as it handles everything involved with the UAS platforms and the concept of the delivery system, while SingPost will handle the logistics of the deliveries, contributing its expertise in software systems that “control and manage delivery networks, customer-interface systems and real-time back-end links to a delivery system that serve the last mile.” “Skyways was launched with the intent to provide highly efficient, reliable and seamless small parcel deliveries using drones in urban cities,” says Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus Helicopters’ Executive Vice President of Engineering and CTO, through press release . “The project has been progressing well and we welcome SingPost onboard as our logistics partner in this critical phase, as we work in tandem to develop a robust autonomous parcel delivery system that will revolutionize the logistics industry.” In 2016, Airbus Helicopters and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to perform a proof-of-concept trial for Skyways. According to Airbus Helicopters, the research and development phase for Skyways is at an advanced stage. An initial trial phase for Skyways will take place on the campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS) starting early next year. During this trial, UAS will be used to transport small packages across the campus. “Our trial will involve SingPost’s parcel locker technology, and this MoU fits well into our long term plans to develop future generations of parcel delivery points that involve drones and the vertical dimension,” says Mervyn Lim, SingPost’s Covering Group CEO. “Together with Airbus Helicopters’ technologists, SingPost’s engineers will be working to ensure the concept meets the future logistics needs of urban environments like Singapore.” << Back to
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Tweet After being awarded a contract, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) will provide its Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery system for a small, portable UUV named the Semi-Autonomous Hydrographic Reconnaissance Vehicle (SAHRV). Designed to be used on both manned and unmanned underwater vehicles and platforms, the battery system has a number of unique features, such as its single cell fault tolerance, which prevents uncontrolled cascading cell failure, and ensures the safety of on-board personnel. The single cell fault tolerance also allows for the completion of a mission, by keeping systems operational through faults. “Our modular, flexible LiFT battery systems are designed for integration into a wide range of platforms, and have been successfully tested for use on a manned submersible,” says GA-EMS president Scott Forney through press release . “The goal of this new contract is to provide a safe, fault-tolerant, high energy density system that achieves the safety certification approvals required for an unlimited ship carry-on capability and to provide the energy needed to maximize mission assurance whenever and wherever the SAHRV is deployed.” The SAHRV UUV is built for scanning, detecting, and identifying mines and other obstacles during shallow water surveillance missions. GA-EMS is working with the Department of Defense as a part of a team looking to design, fabricate, deliver, and conduct at-sea testing of the SAHRV UUV with the LiFT battery system installed on it. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of GA-EMS << Back
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Tweet by AUVSI News   On April 18, Aeryon Labs Inc. announced that Bill McHale would serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company. McHale assumed the role of CEO from Dave Kroetsch, the founder of Aeryon Labs, who will now serve as the company’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). “We have several exciting developments underway, and I look forward to working with the team as we continue to provide market defining solutions to a growing number of customers,” McHale says via press release . “Our focus remains on making customers successful as they implement, operate and maintain sUAS.” McHale has more than 20 years of experience working for a variety of companies, and he has been the CEO of several of these companies.   Most recently, McHale was the Chairman of the Board for a SaaS-based telematics and Mobile Resource Management solutions company called Masternaut. He also served as the CEO of the company in early 2015. McHale has also served as the CEO for other companies such as Actix, the DSET Corporation and Cerebus Solutions. When speaking of McHale’s new role as CEO, Kroetsch says, “Bill’s wealth of knowledge and leadership will help us address growing demand for sUAS based solutions.” In his new role as CTO, Kroetsch will focus on the “advanced solutions and capabilities that fuel Aeryon’s continued delivery of accurate and timely aerial intelligence.” Kroetsch says of his new position, “this gives me an opportunity to focus more on developing our next generation offerings, as we look to bring the most value possible to customers seeking a solution seamlessly integrated with their operations.”  Like McHale, Kroetsch has also held positions with a variety of companies including PixStream, Cisco Systems and LSI Logic. << Back to
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Tweet by AUVSI News   On April 5, Verizon used an RS-20 UAS to conduct its latest round of engineering flight tests aimed at determining the size of an area for which wireless coverage could be created aerially using a UAS with a “flying cell site” onboard it. “This new test builds upon our leadership in conducting the first successful demonstration in the U.S. for providing aerial coverage from a long-endurance medium altitude aircraft with AATI in Cape May last October,” says Christopher Desmond of the Verizon Network through press release . Testing took place in Woodbine, New Jersey at the Woodbine Municipal Airport. Testing was designed to simulate an environment where a severe weather event or other type of disaster knocked out commercial power indefinitely and interrupted traditional communications services. The UAS was manufactured and flown by American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI).  Via UAV Expert News , AATI’s CEO David Yoel explains the purpose of the testing by saying, “the goal of the flight test was to simulate an environment in which a disaster such as a hurricane or a flood had destroyed an area’s cell network while demonstrating the drone’s ability to provide first responders with communications to improve their safety and effectiveness.” According to Verizon, the FAA issued a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to Cape May County, New jersey, “in preparation for a major emergency preparedness exercise in May involving county, state and federal emergency responders.” << Back to
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Tweet After receiving funding from Innovate UK, Amey, an Oxford, England-based company, will begin working with Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) to develop and build a prototype autonomous vehicle that can be used for urban services such as grass cutting and street cleaning. The vehicle will be developed as a part of the Connected Autonomous Sensing Service Delivery Vehicles (CASS-DV) study. Under the 15-month CASS-DV study, the vehicle will also be used to test data collected from its sensors while driving, on things such as the condition of street furniture, bridges and road surface. The sensors will also be capable of providing information on environmental factors, including air quality and vegetation growth. “We believe that the pioneering study will not only help to transform the quality and quantity of data on road conditions, but will provide cost efficiencies to our clients as well as delivering real improvements in safety and service quality,” says Amey’s Director of Technology Rick Robinson through press release . Ruth McKernan, Innovate UK Chief Executive, adds, “these successful industry-led R&D projects will further spearhead UK development of low emission, and connected and autonomous vehicle technology, building on our world-leading research and innovation capability in this area and the significant strength of UK businesses large and small in this field.” The vehicles will be tested at the Culhum Science Centre in Oxfordshire, which, according to Amey, is set to become a “major test and validation site for the vehicles.” << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Amey << Back
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