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Tweet by AUVSI News The United States Navy has selected the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida to function as the East Coast Forward Operating Base to house a squadron of Northrop Grumman manufactured-MQ-4C Triton UAS. Construction of a new UAS facility at the Naval Station Mayport is expected to begin this year. The first Triton UAS is expected to arrive in 2020. In addition to the UAS being housed at the base, 400 Triton personnel will also be stationed there as well. “I have long advocated for the Navy to base the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft in Mayport, so I am very pleased it decided to do so,” says Sen. Marco Rubio via Action News Jacksonville . Rep. John Rutherford echoes Rubio’s statements by saying, “I am very pleased with the Navy’s decision, which will not only enhance our national security by helping the Navy carry out its important maritime surveillance missions, but is also a huge victory for the Jacksonville community, further strengthening our partnership with the Navy.” “The MQ-4C Triton will significantly increase the Navy’s capabilities to conduct surveillance in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.” With an ability to fly more than 24 hours at a time and survey more than 2.7 million square miles during a single mission, the Triton UAS are built to support the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, by providing tactical and strategic mission capabilities, and collecting maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data. << Back to the News
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TWITTER BUTTON HERE by AUVSI News During ISC West 2017, which is the largest security industry trade show taking place in April in Las Vegas, the event will feature the inaugural Unmanned Security Expo, which will give companies a chance to showcase their UAS and UGV technologies that can be used in the security sector. The Unmanned Security Expo will have four primary supporters, including Robolliance, which is a forum for industry experts and technology partners in the robotics, surveillance and security industries. “The Unmanned Security Expo is yet another example of like-mindedness around this technology,” says Cliff Quiroga, Vice President of Sharp Robotics Business Development via press release. The Sharp Electronics Corporation is the founding sponsor of Robolliance, and the Sharp Robotics Business Development division is the one responsible for the Sharp INTELLOS Automated Unmanned Ground Vehicle A-UGV, which will be featured at ISC West 2017. In terms of the development of the company’s A-UGV, Quiroga says, “Sharp determined over four years ago the necessity of robotics for outdoor security perimeter patrol. By studying the market and through innumerable conversations with security integrators, guard companies and end users, we not only brought to the industry a product that is integral in safeguarding infrastructure, assets and people… Sharp brought to the industry a profit-making opportunity for resellers and a true technological partner for manpower guarding.” The Unmanned Security Expo will feature a fully functional flight cage and robotics demonstration area, and there will also be free exhibit floor educational sessions as well. << Back to the News
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Weekend Roundup

Tweet by AUVSI News This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World The Somerset County Sheriff's Office in New Jersey has introduced its new Lockheed Martin manufactured-PLI Indago UAS, which will be used in conjunction with the Project Lifesaver program in Somerset County, to help locate people with special needs who are prone to wandering, such as those with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, autism and Down syndrome. The UAS, which is a military-grade, quadrotor, will be used to track clients on the Project Lifesaver program. Clients that are a part of the program wear personalized wristband that emit a tracking signal, which will help the Sherriff’s Office using the UAS track the clients if they do wander. ( NJ.com ) The Moore County Sheriff’s Office in Carthage, North Carolina has announced that it has purchased a UAS to use for a variety of missions, including high risk scenarios such as when someone is barricaded in a home or building, as well as in situations where crime scene photography is needed, and for other tasks such as crowd monitoring. Three deputies have received their FAA and North Carolina certifications required to operate the UAS, which is a quadcopter, equipped with four rotors and a camera system. ( The Courier Tribune ) Subaru has been granted permission to test their driverless vehicles on the roads of California. Boasting its own pre-collision avoidance, radar cruise control and lane keeping assist technologies, the auto manufacturer is one of just 22 companies that has acquired an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit through the California DMV. ( The Drive ) A Turkish company named Elfatek has developed an unmanned mini tank, dubbed the Ankebot, which among many features, has a battery life of eight hours, can travel at six kilometers per hour, and can handle a load of 100 kilograms. Controlled by a joystick remote control system, the mini tank’s ultimate goal is to prevent casualties among security forces, by handling tasks such as bomb disposal, firefighting and transporting injured personnel. According to Elfatek, the mini tank could possibly be equipped with armor, thermal vision and a heavy machine gun. ( Hurriyet Daily News ) Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s Dynamatic Technologies Ltd (DTL) have announced that they will develop UAS for the Indian market. The cooperation agreement between the two companies was signed this week at the Aero India exhibition in Bangalore. The UAS that are produced will be a part of the Indian government’s “Make in India” initiative, which was launched in 2014 by the Indian government, to encourage both multinational and national companies to manufacture and develop their products in India. ( Times of Israel ) A driverless bus, the EZ10 autonomous vehicle, has made its debut at the Darwin Wharf Precinct in Australia as a part of a trial to test the technology. The EasyMile-manufactured bus is free to ride but passengers must book a ticket online beforehand. Passengers who ride the bus will be asked to complete a survey, which will be used to evaluate the trial, and help figure out how to use the technology going forward in the future. ( Darwin Waterfront Precinct ) << Back to the News
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 17, 2017 Contact: Tom McMahon, tmcmahon@auvsi.org , (571) 255-7786 AUVSI Partners with FAA for Annual UAS Symposium, March 27 to 29 ARLINGTON, Va. — The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) today announced that it has partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to host the annual UAS Symposium, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia, on March 27 to 29. "The symposium will bring together government and industry stakeholders to discuss issues pertaining to successful integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the nation’s airspace,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We must continue to work together to build upon the successful implementation of the Small UAS Rule and help frame the next steps for future collaboration on the bigger integration challenges.” The first FAA UAS symposium was held last April in Daytona Beach, Florida. It provided a forum to broaden the dialog with industry and the public on how to safely integrate UAS into the airspace. This year’s symposium will feature discussion on a wide range of issues to help the FAA develop long-term policy on UAS integration. “Collaboration between all stakeholders is key to advancing UAS research and allowing this technology to reach its full potential,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “The symposium will be an opportunity to provide feedback to the FAA as it continues to advance a true, holistic plan for full UAS integration, including beyond line of sight operations, flights over people, access to higher altitudes and platforms above 55 pounds.” For more information about this year’s symposium or to register, visit http://bit.ly/2kx2xVC . # # # About AUVSI The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents more than 7,500 members from more than 60 countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets. For more information, visit AUVSI.org .
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Tweet by AUVSI News In an effort to simplify UAS operations and management for organizations of all sizes, Verizon has announced that it has acquired Skyward, a company that not only specializes in drone operations management, but also has the technology to accomplish Verizon’s goals. Using Skyward’s technology, Verizon will look to streamline the management of UAS operations through one platform built to handle a variety of end-to-end activities, including everything from mission planning to FAA compliance support. Simplifying UAS operations and management will allow developers and businesses to generate and oversee a wide-range of services, which will all be supported by Verizon’s mobile private network, secure cloud interconnect and data analytics capabilities. Through press release , senior vice president of Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon Mike Lanman says, “this acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT.” Jonathan Evans, Skyward’s founder and CEO, adds, “Skyward's drone operations management platform combined with Verizon's network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases.” << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News XPRIZE, a non-profit organization that designs and manages public, incentive competitions aimed at finding innovative technologies that can help humanity, has announced the 21 teams that it has chosen to advance in the semifinals of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition, which will award a total of $7 million throughout the contest. The three-year global competition, which started in December 2015, seeks to find unmanned and robotic technologies capable of handling tasks involving ocean exploration and discovery. Entries for the competition include gliders, drones, underwater robotic swarms, AUVs, robotics, artificial intelligence and massive computing platforms. The 21 teams picked represent 13 different countries, including the United States, which makes up more than half of the field with 11 teams, as well as countries such as China, France and Ghana. The teams come from a variety of backgrounds, including undergraduate and graduate universities, non-profits, startups, and professional scientists and engineers. “These semifinalist teams are on the cutting-edge, pushing the boundaries in developing deep-sea underwater technologies that will work in the lightless, cold depths to fully map one of our world’s final frontiers like never before,” says the prize lead and senior director with XPRIZE’s Energy and Environment Group, Jyotika Virmani, Ph.D, via press release . “Through the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create next generation tools, technologies and techniques that will illuminate deep-sea wonders and unlock a new era of ocean exploration.” The competition will consist of two rounds. During round 1, teams will be challenged with deploying their entries into the 500 km2 competition area. Once deployed, the teams will have to operate their technologies at a depth of 2,000 meters, and those technologies will be responsible for mapping at least 20 percent of the competition area at five meters resolution, while also identifying and imaging at least five archeological, biological or geological features at any depth, all within a 16-hour timeframe. Up to 10 teams will be selected to advance past round 1, and those teams will split a milestone prize purse worth $1 million. In round 2, the teams will be responsible for the same tasks as round 1, except with higher degrees of difficulty. They will need to operate their entries at a depth of 4,000 meters, map at least 50 percent of the competition area at five meters resolution, while identifying and imaging at least 10 archeological, biological or geological features at any depth, all within a 24-hour timeframe. Following this round of competition, one grand prize worth $4 million will be awarded to the winning team, while the second place team will be awarded a prize of $1 million. The final $1 million of the $7 million total will be awarded to the winner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) bonus prize competition, which will see 12 teams compete to show that their technology is capable of tracing a biological and chemical signal, in an effort to “sniff out” a specified object in the ocean. << Back to the News
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Tweet The UK Centre for Defence Enterprise, which has now transitioned to the Defence and Security Accelerator, will provide £365,000 in funding to engineering consultant HORIBA MIRA. The funding will help HORIBA MIRA deliver a second phase of its UGV Autonomy research project, known as ‘UGV Localisation and Perception using Deep Learning Neural Networks.’ The overall aim of the project is to develop vision-based localization and perception technology that will allow UGVs to operate smoothly in difficult environments. Using Artificial Intelligence provided by computer vision cameras and deep learning neural networks, HORIBA MIRA is looking to ensure that both manned and unmanned military platforms are capable of adapting to changing conditions and environments experienced in the field. One of the specific goals of the project is to create an alternative, or a ‘fail-safe,’ to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), the two most common systems that guide UGVs during drives. Both of those systems are susceptible to jamming and interference, which can be a problem for UGVs operating in certain military contexts and situations. “The technology that we are developing enables a breakthrough in autonomy, meaning that our vehicles can start to understand their surroundings and no longer be reliant on off-board systems such as GPS,” says HORIBA MIRA’s Chief Engineer for Defence Solutions Andrew Maloney through press release . “Winning the second phase of the project means we can improve the core technology and take the system to new environments where it hasn’t been before to assess its ability to navigate and drive them autonomously.” The first phase of the project, which was completed in 2016, resulted in HORIBA MIRA’s Modular Autonomous Control Equipment (MACE) research vehicle being equipped with a proof of concept system created by HORIBA MIRA. During a demonstration of the system onboard the MACE research vehicle, the vehicle navigated, localized and drove autonomously without GPS. During the second phase of the project, HORIBA MIRA will look to improve the system performance and sensing capability of the proof of concept system. HORIBA MIRA will also look to create an advanced prototype that can be integrated into a variety of existing systems. That prototype could serve as an alternative to GPS, or compliment it. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of HORIBA MIRA << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News When the 10th SpaceX commercial resupply mission launches, an unmanned system named Raven will be onboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, to help NASA come closer to its goal of achieving a relative navigation capability. The Raven, which is a technology module, will be used to test ‘foundational technologies that will enable autonomous rendezvous in space,’ according to Phys.org . Five days after launching, the Dextre robotic arm will remove Raven from the unpressurized ‘trunk’ of the SpaceX Dragon, and Raven will be attached on a payload platform outside the International Space Station, where it will begin collecting information that will go towards the development of a mature, real-time relative navigation system. For NASA, having a system that can work autonomously in space to conduct autonomous rendezvous is important because it allows for the servicing of a client, such as a satellite, when it needs some type of assistant, such as being refueled. If a client that needs service is unmarked, it’s on the servicer spacecraft to find the client on its own, which can be difficult because of the speed of travel of the spacecrafts, combined with the darkness of space. In order to locate the client needing service, the servicer would need an advanced machine vision system, which is where Raven comes into play. With Raven aboard the space station, it can provide the relative navigation system necessary to locate the client that needs service. The relative navigation system is housed in Raven’s carry-on luggage-sized frame, and not only can it help Raven locate its intended target, but Raven can also catch its target if necessary. Since Raven operates on its own, there is no need for human interjection, which would cause a delay in timing, and subsequently, might put the spacecraft in jeopardy. Ben Reed, deputy division director for the Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, says, “two spacecraft autonomously rendezvousing is crucial for many future NASA missions and Raven is maturing this never-before-attempted technology.” Raven, which is expected to have a two-year lifespan, will be evaluated by on ground NASA operators. Raven’s components will combine and work together to independently image and track visiting space station spacecraft, that are both coming in and going out. NASA operators will judge how the various technologies of Raven work together as a system, and make the proper adjustments to increase the system’s tracking performance. It is the hope of NASA that Raven’s technologies will support future NASA missions for decades to come. << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Minnesota is looking to bring driverless buses to the state, through a new project called the ‘Minnesota Autonomous Bus Pilot,’ which will consist of two phases. The first phase, which will be funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) research fund, is the planning phase, which will cost an estimated $355,000. The second phase will consist of the actual testing of the buses. Right now there is no estimated cost for that phase, and the state is still looking for a partner to provide the buses, but the hope is that testing of these vehicles can commence sometime next year. According to state traffic engineer at MnDOT Jay Hietpas, the motivation behind this project is keeping up with the times. “That’s kind of how we started working on this project, is to get ready for the future,” Hietpas says through KSTP . Through the project, Hietpas hopes that Minnesotans will have some input into the development of these autonomous vehicles, to make sure that they are safe for operation in a state accustomed to harsh weather conditions. “We want to make sure that those technologies are ready to work inside of our environment so when they are ready to roll out, they will be able to come here to Minnesota,” Hietpas adds. << Back to the News
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Tweet Logos Technologies and Insitu have announced that in early February, the two companies successfully conducted an initial flight test of the Integrator small tactical UAS, equipped with the Redkite wide-area sensor. The test, which was conducted in Boardman, Oregon, was the first time that a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system has been transported on a small UAS through its internal payload bay. “Integrator with Redkite will enable an even broader set of missions and keep our warfighters out of harm’s way," says Insitu’s chief technology officer Pete Kunz . Weighing in at less than 30 pounds, the Redkite is capable of detecting, tracking and recording all significant movers within a city-sized area (over 12 square kilometers) that it is imaging. While the sensor is flying, multiple users on the ground can use desktop screens, tablets and other mobile devices to view real-time and/or historical video feeds from the sensor’s coverage area. In total, up to 10 unique views can be transmitted by the Redkite to hundreds of users at one time. The Redkite also has the ability to store up to eight hours of geo-tagged mission data through its onboard solid state drives (SSDs). Logos Technologies President John Marion says, “in the past, we’ve mounted podded versions of our lightweight WAMI systems to rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.” “Now, thanks to further reductions in weight, we can easily fit a Redkite inside a tactical unmanned platform, as demonstrated with our recent flights on the Insitu Integrator.” From Feb. 19-23, Logos Technologies will debut a full-size model of the new internal payload version of Redkite. The debut will take place at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2017, which takes place in Abu Dhabi. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Logos Technologies << Back to the News
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 15, 2017 Contact: Tom McMahon, tmcmahon@auvsi.org , (571) 255-7786 XPONENTIAL 2017 Showcases Most Promising Startups in Unmanned Systems Industry Startup Showdown semi-finalists selected, winner announced on May 10 in Dallas ARLINGTON, V.a. – The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) announced the semi-finalists for its second annual Startup Showdown. The winner will be selected and announced at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 , the largest trade show for the unmanned systems and robotics industry, taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas from May 8 to 11, 2017. Sixty-five startups submitted their products and services for consideration. The companies represent diverse applications of unmanned systems technology, such as hybrid power sources, advanced imagery payloads and autonomous wireless power. The 16 semi-finalists, as determined by an expert panel of judges from top investment firms, represent six countries and a range of industries. They are: Advanced Aircraft Company DRONAMICS Gamma2Robotics Inc. Inertial Sense LLC Iridium Dynamics Pty Ltd Kinaptic, LLC Planck Aerosystems Quaternium Technologies Robolink Ross Robotics Skylift Global, Inc. TeleRetail uAvionix Corporation Viooa Imaging Technology Inc. WiBotic, Inc Z-senz, LLC Details on each semi-finalist and their offerings are available on the XPONENTIAL 2017 website . “Advances in technology and regulatory changes have ushered in an era of seemingly limitless opportunity for unmanned systems,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI president and CEO. “More than 65 companies from six different countries submitted some of the most interesting and innovative applications for our industry, highlighting the future of innovation across the unmanned systems and robotics ecosystem.” 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 this session. All XPONENTIAL attendees are invited to watch the competition, which will take place on Wednesday, May 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CDT in Ballroom C1/C2. Videos submitted by each semi-finalist, capturing their company’s products, market position and differentiators, will be displayed throughout the week at XPONENTIAL. Seven thousand industry leaders and professionals from over 55 countries are expected to attend XPONENTIAL 2017. The exhibit hall will showcase 650 cutting-edge companies from around the world, representing more than 20 industries. Registration for XPONENTIAL 2017 has opened. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2jgeaLQ . # # # About AUVSI The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents more than 7,500 members from more than 60 countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.
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Tweet Modus Seabed Intervention has announced that it has completed system integration and testing of a hybrid UUV that the company developed in partnership with Saab Dynamics. The testing of the UUV took place in both Sweden and the United Kingdom. “Our hybrid AUV capability is a game changing development for the subsea industry that innovatively addresses the sector challenges and the current economic environment,” says Modus Seabed Intervention managing director Jake Tompkins, through the Energy Business Review . Tompkins continues by saying, “our ongoing investments into subsea vehicle development, disruptive innovation and operating processes will ensure our customers can benefit from a differentiated approach to survey, inspection and intervention, providing cost effective, high quality performance.” The UUV, which is believed to be one of the first unmanned underwater vehicles that has capabilities and characteristics of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), has several features that make it ideal for the oil and gas industry, as well as with interconnectors and offshore renewables. It has increased thrust, which supports high speed surveying, and it also has additional batteries, providing extended endurance. While in water, the UUV has a depth rate of 1,200 meters, but that can be upgraded to 3,000 meters to meet project-specific applications. Now that testing has been completed, Modus and Saab are now working to create advanced sensor payload packages and operating methodologies for the UUV. Modus is also preparing to deploy the UUV commercially. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Saab Dynamics << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Jeff Brandes, a member of the Florida Senate, has introduced a bill that if passed, would make it legal for a driverless vehicle to be operated by someone without a license to drive a normal vehicle. The bill would open up personal transportation opportunities for a variety of groups, including children and the elderly, as well as those that are blind and deaf. When talking about the reasoning behind this bill, Brandes says, “the car is the operator, not the driver anymore. We are really asking the question: Does a driver have to be physically present in the vehicle?” Via Fox 13 News , Brandes continues, “if the machine can drive better than, or at least two or three times better than a 16-year-old boy, then I think we should consider allowing the machine itself to be licensed.” Brandes believes that driverless cars can drastically cut down on the 2,500 deaths and 250,000 injuries that occur in the state of Florida annually as a result of car crashes. << Back to the News
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Tweet After successfully completing a test run of an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of carrying a human, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that it hopes to have the EHang manufactured-UAV ready to start operation as soon as this July. Designed to serve as an autonomous flying taxi, the UAV, an EHang 184, can transport someone that weighs as much as 220 pounds, along with a small suitcase. “The trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world,” says Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA, through ArabianBusiness.com . “It is also part of RTA’s endeavours to provide self-driving transport through engaging in the technological tests of self-driving vehicles under Dubai environment.” In order to carry out this test run, the RTA had help from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, which issued the permits to conduct the test flight, and Etisalat, a telecommunications company, which provided the 4G data network used to facilitate communication between the vehicle and ground control center. Equipped with a variety of features, including eight main propellers, which allows for ample support in case one propeller fails, the vehicle has a touch screen map for passengers to decide their destination by way of a preset route. Once the destination is picked, the UAV takes off, cruises to that location, and lands in a specific spot, all while the entire operation is controlled and monitored by the ground control center. The UAV is capable of flying a maximum of 30 minutes, at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour, and a maximum cruising height of 3,000 feet. Besides thunderstorms, the vehicle is built to handle all climatic conditions. << Back to the News << Back to the News
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Tweet The University of Maryland (UMD) Test Site successfully flew UAV Solution’s Ace XL UAS on January 20, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-R and UAS Programs. Built to carry a heavy lift camera, as well as medical supplies and/or packages for deliveries, the Ace XL is an h-frame configuration, and is operated by using UAV Solution’s Tactical Ground Control System or Mission Control Module. During the operational assessment back in January, which consisted of six flights, the team accomplished all of its goals, which left Frank Padula, Project Manager at NOAA, very pleased. “Friday was a fantastic and successful flight day,” Padula says via press release . “Our GOES-R data analysis is looking good from this collection. It seems we have a winning project in the making.” Some of the maneuvers and testing conducted on January 20 included the successful testing of aircraft/payload integration, the establishment of sensor baselines through stabilized hovering over a tarp, and the collecting of sensor data from a single location at exact altitudes. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of NOAA << Back to the News
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Tweet Representatives from WeRobotics, a not-for-profit organization that specializes in international “robotics for good” initiatives, have announced that they successfully completed a series of test flights using UAS to deliver anti-venom and blood samples between Contamana and Pampa Hermosa , both of which are located in the Amazon Rainforest in Peru. The flights, which took place between Dec. 12-21 of last year, were a part of a collaboration between WeRobotics, the Peruvian Ministry of Health and local doctors. WeRobotics’ local lab, the Peru Flying Labs, coordinated the actual flights themselves. These flights could prove to be integral for local citizens in the region, as there are an estimated 45 snakebites per month that take place in the Contamana region alone. The usual mode of transportation, by boat or canoe, can take several hours between Contamana and Pampa Hermosa, but using the UAS, it took just 35 minutes for anti-venom to be delivered from one location to another during testing in front of local citizens. Originally, the WeRobotics team was supposed to use a UAS shipped from North America to conduct the flights, but that UAS was deemed too unstable to fly. In a move of improvisation, the WeRobotics team decided to use an older E384 fixed-wing mapping drone to conduct the flights. The E384 UAS, which was 90 percent cheaper than the original UAS that was supposed to be used, proved to be more than accommodating for these flights. Also, because the E384 is so much cheaper, its repair costs were also significantly cheaper, which is a good thing considering the UAS landed in a coconut tree during its nighttime flight. It only took $3 dollars to make those repairs, though. Thanks to the success of these initial flights, WeRobotics has been invited back to conduct more flights by the Ministry of Health and local doctors. During future flights in May of this year, WeRobotics plans on expanding the delivery distance past 100 kilometers. << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of WeRobotics << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News The European Defense Agency (EDA) has announced the successful completion of a project aimed at testing how unmanned grounds systems could work with manned vehicles during future mounted combat missions. Among many goals, the project, known as ‘Hybrid Manned Unmanned Platooning (Hy-MUP),’ was used to help military personnel become more comfortable with heavy unmanned ground vehicles. According to the EDA , the Hy-MUP project had several objectives. Firstly, the project sought to demonstrate the practicality of unmanned ground systems working in collaboration with regular vehicles in future mounted combat missions. In order to determine the practicality of such teaming, use cases for platooning were analyzed and defined. The project was also used to identify high safety requirements, and develop a demonstrator of a hybrid fleet, which includes both unmanned and manned vehicles, so that they can be deployed in missions involving convoy reconnaissance and/or surveillance (platooning), with help from a mobile Control and Command Vehicle (CCV) that is driven by a person. Those missions would also include a mobile robotized vehicle that could either be tele-operated by an operator from the CCV's control station, or programmed to autonomously follow a ‘Leader Vehicle.’ During the Hy-MUP project, a variety of case scenarios involving the teaming of manned and unmanned vehicles were tested out. In one scenario, a 4x4 wheels drive civilian vehicle (ISUZU D-MAX) was equipped with Drive by Wire capability, as well as sensors that allowed for autonomous motion by using ‘Leader Following’ facilities. During this set of testing, two different ‘Leader Following’ functionalities were applied and evaluated, using various leader vehicles, weather conditions and environments. The Hy-MUP project was funded by two contributing Member States, France and Germany. ECA Robotics and Thales Optronique SAS for France, along with Diehl BGT Defence and Rheinmetall Landsysteme for Germany, carried out the project. The Hy-MUP project was a continuation of the ‘Semi-Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SAM-UGV)’ project, which was carried out by the same entities from France and Germany that carried out this project. Both projects were hosted in EDA’s CapTech Ground Systems (Land). << Back to the News
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Tweet by AUVSI News Ford Motor Company has announced that it will invest $1 billion in an artificial intelligence company called Argo AI over the next five years. Together, Ford and Argo AI will look to develop a virtual driver system for Ford’s fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicles, which Ford hopes to have on the roads by 2021. According to Ford, the virtual driver system will serve as the “brains, eyes, ears and senses” of its autonomous vehicles. “The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s President and CEO, through a company press release . “As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.” Argo AI was founded last year by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, both of whom are alumni of the Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center. Salesky, Argo AI’s CEO, previously worked with self-driving vehicles through Google’s Waymo company, while Rander, Argo AI’s COO, previously worked with Uber performing the same kind of engineering. When speaking about the partnership, Salesky said, “we are energized by Ford’s commitment and vision for the future of mobility, and we believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at scale to extend affordable mobility to all.” The technology that Argo develops will initially be exclusive to Ford, but down the line, the company will have opportunities to license the technology to other automakers, according to the Associated Press . << Back to the News
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Weekend Roundup

Tweet This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World Piaggio has unveiled its new autonomous robot, the Gita, which is designed to carry personal cargo. Built to follow a human, or move autonomously along paths it has previously traveled, Gita is 26 inches tall, can carry up to 40 pounds, all while traveling at a top speed of 22 miles per hour. Piaggio is looking to test the robot on college campuses and select towns across the United States. ( Mashable ) Drones are being tested in Nepal and Tanzania, to see if UAS can be used to deliver blood and medical supplies in disaster zones. Thus far, the trial has successfully trained 42 future pilots and imagery analysts in the operation of UAS, the production of 3D maps, and teaching others in communities how to fly UAS. Officials hope that one day, civilians, doctors and nurses will all be able to order the lifesaving UAS, named ‘Stork’ drones, via a mobile phone. ( Daily Mail ) SRC Inc., an independent not-for-profit, research and development corporation, has received a contract worth $65 million from the U.S. Army. Using the money from the contract, SRC will develop up to 15 sets of counter-drone systems. SRC plans to immediately hire 50 engineers to staff its New York office. ( Government Technology ) With plans on testing its driverless vehicles, Volvo is looking for volunteers to test those vehicles in west London, as the cars commute autonomously on motorways and dual carriageways. Once a vehicle reaches London, the drivers will take over control of it, but the drivers will be alerted of when it is time to takeover well before they actually have to. ( Auto World News ) About 40 students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) are prepping to build a second autonomous sailboat to sail across the ocean. Last year, students from UBC sent their “sailbot” Ada 1.0 across the Atlantic Ocean, but it is believed that the unmanned boat succumbed to the rough seas during its journey. Students will begin working on the Ada 2.0 this summer after classes are complete for the year. ( Vancouver Sun ) InnoCorp, LLC has unveiled the SubMurres, which doubles as both a UUV and a UAV. The system can make this transition without any individual or multiple deployments, fission of elements, or complicated maneuvering. The SubMurres is controlled by command, and is powered by diesel/battery. ( Drone Blog ) Knightscope has unveiled its new security robot designed to patrol sidewalks, parking lots, schools, and malls. The 300-pound robot, named after the company, has full 360-degree vision capabilities thanks to HD and infrared cameras. There are two versions of the system; one is five-feet-tall and named K5, while the other is three-feet-tall and named K3. The larger version is meant to patrol large spaces, while the smaller one is meant to patrol smaller ones. Among many capabilities, both the K5 and the K3 can record audio and video, read license plates and detect the presence of firearms. ( The Merkle ) << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Piaggio
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Tweet For the first time, Airobotics’ fully automated, industrial grade multi-purpose UAS platform will be flown at an Australian resources operation. The platform, which includes the UAS itself, along with an automated base station (called Airbase) and cloud based software, will be used to capture data and insights at South32’s Worsley Alumina operations, providing valuable information for future improvements. “The launch of Airobotics’ automated drone platform marks an important milestone, being one of the first deployments for Airobotics in Australia,” says Ran Krauss, the Co-founder and CEO of Airobotics, in a press release . With the capability of handling a variety of missions, including inspecting equipment or machinery, surveying and mapping stockpiles, and monitoring for emergencies or security breaches, the fully automatic UAS does not need a pilot for its operation. The UAS launches on its own from its freestanding, automated base station, conducts its pre-programmed or on-demand mission, and returns to the station once it completes its mission. Once the UAS returns to the base station, a robotic arm replaces its battery and payload so that it can conduct its next mission. With an FAA waiver authorization under Part 107 in the United States in its possession, as well as a commercial license from CAAI in Israel, Airobotics is currently in the process of securing a CASA ReOC (Remote Operator’s Certificate). << Back to the News Photo Courtesy of Airobotics << Back to the News
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