Weekend Roundup



This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

Elbit Systems’ multi mission USV, named Seagull, performed a live demonstration of a remotely operated Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission. Via Satellite Communication (SATCOM), the Seagull USV performed the operational ASW mission using control consoles located approximately 3,515 kilometers away in Elbit Systems' booth at the DSEI Exhibition in London. The Seagull USV was sailing in the Haifa Bay, Israel during the demonstration. (Elbit Systems)

In Illinois, the Champaign Fire Department has announced its plans to begin using UAS for a variety of emergency situations, hopefully starting by January 2018. Eight firefighters will head to Parkland College, which is also located in Champaign, to receive pilot training and FAA certification. Before using the technology during actual emergencies, the firefighters will also participate in hands-on training using the UAS for extra preparation. (WAND-TV)

During a “self-driving car symposium — of sorts,” members of Minnesota’s government, along with representatives from technology companies and academia in the state, came together to discuss self-driving cars, the challenges and opportunities that these vehicles could present, and they also took rides in two vehicles with autonomous driving features. A St. Louis Park-based consulting firm called VSI Labs hosted the symposium. VSI Labs researches and tests self-driving technology, and the firm recently finished installing self-driving technology in a Kia Soul—which was one of the test vehicles—that gave the vehicle some hands-free capability. (Star Tribune)

Airobotics, which created a fully automated end-to-end UAS that is used for data collection and gaining aerial insights, has announced the completion of a $32.5 million funding round. The funding round was led by BlueRun Ventures China, along with Microsoft Ventures, OurCrowd.com and another strategic investor. As a result of this fundraising, Airobotics is announcing its new division of Homeland Security and Defense, and a new “Airobotics Safe Cities” initiative, which will use fully automated UAS to “perform emergency critical applications in cities.” (Airobotics)

Marine robotics manufacturer Hydroid Inc., which is a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, has announced that it has successfully completed the first delivery of the New Generation REMUS 100 AUV to its Naval Oceanographic Office customer. According to Hydroid, the New Generation REMUS 100 AUV is equipped with “advanced technology and capabilities that are the first of their kind in the industry,” giving customers increased autonomy and capability during missions. (Hydroid)

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. has announced that its Unmanned Systems Division (USD) has successfully completed several missions using a number of its high performance jet powered UAS. The missions, which were conducted for a national security related customer, are part of a series of performance demonstrations to be completed before the delivery and acceptance of 10 USD UAS, which is expected take place in the next six months. (Kratos Defense & Security Solutions)

In Maryland, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) will begin using UAS during high-risk situations and police-related investigations. The program has five officers that are trained and certified UAS pilots. The UAS that will be used is clearly marked with CCSO logos, and can be fitted with a FLIR thermal imaging camera to help during search and rescue missions. The camera can also help the K-9 Unit when looking for dangerous or armed suspects. (Southern Maryland News Net)

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has established the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund, which is a “new $300-million fund focused exclusively on the automotive market.” The fund will focus on connected car and autonomous technologies, some of which include smart sensors, artificial intelligence and automotive-grade safety technologies. (Samsung)

Skyfront, which has created the “world’s longest endurance multirotor drones for the agriculture, energy and utility industries,” is claiming that its flagship UAS, the Skyfront Tailwind UAV, set a world record for endurance. The UAV flew for a total of four hours and 34 minutes, which is a significant amount of time longer than how long typical battery-powered UAS fly. Skyfront’s goal is to create fully autonomous UAS that can safely fly over the horizon, far beyond the line of sight of the operator. (sUAS News)

Egan Airships has announced its new UAS, known as PLIMP, which is a plummet-proof, plane-blimp hybrid UAS. The company says that the UAS provides advances in safety, visibility and mobility while flying and hovering. According to Egan Airships, the UAS combines a number of different capabilities that make it stand out, as it can “maneuver and move quickly like fixed-wing aircraft, hover and vertically take off and land (VTOL) like a helicopter, and operate efficiently and safely like a blimp—all on a single platform.” The UAS is expected to be commercially available by Q1 2018. (GlobeNewswire)