Weekend Roundup



On the same day as World Animal Day, Oct. 4, Intel announced that it successfully used its artificial intelligence (AI) and UAS technologies for two wildlife research expeditions; one which focused on polar bear exploration, and the other on whale exploration. The expeditions were conducted through two separate collaborations with a wildlife photographer and conservationist, and also with Parley for the Oceans, which addresses major threats towards the world’s oceans. (Intel)

South Carolina’s Greenville County has been awarded a $4 million Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in support of the county’s automated taxis. The money will be used to “deploy an integrated system of “taxi-shuttles”—known locally as “A-Taxis”—on public roads.” (Federal Highway Administration)

In Australia, mining company Rio Tinto has completed the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey in the country. The pilot run, which was completed without a driver on board, was completed at Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The successful pilot run is a major step in Rio Tinto’s goal to fully commission the AutoHaul project—which focuses on “automating the trains that are essential to transporting the iron ore” to the company's port facilities—next year. (Rio Tinto)

The University of Virginia hosted an event on Sept. 30 that showcased the future of driverless vehicles. In attendance for the event were Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who has been a major supporter of unmanned technologies, and Albemarle County, Virginia-based Perrone Robotics, which showcased its fully autonomous car. (NBC29.com)

Add fishing to the expansive list of things that UAS are being used for. In South Africa, the Sky Anglers Drone Fishing Tournament recently took place, and during the competition, 65 of 70 anglers used UAS to carry their bait offshore, so that they could gain a competitive advantage. This is believed to be one of the first UAS fishing competitions in the world. (The Drive)

According to CNBC, Stanley Black & Decker, which manufactures industrial tools and household hardware, and also provides security products and locks, will add UAS to its commercial security business. The company will also develop UAS-based systems, in partnership with a startup called Sunflower Labs, which makes a “home aerial security system that has solar-powered smart lights and aerial cameras.” (CNBC)

Engineers from BAE Systems and students from Cranfield, England’s Cranfield University have unveiled a new technology concept called Adaptable UAVs. A hybrid between fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, the Adaptable UAVs can alternate between the two different flight modes in the same mission. This technology could allow UAVs to “better adapt to evolving future battlefield situations,” and challenge advanced air defenses, by working together in a swarm. (BAE Systems)

In North Dakota, three different companies— Grand Forks UAS-piloting company SkySkopes, Poland-based manufacturing company Robot Aviation, and software company eSmart, which was founded in Norway—have been working together to service the North Dakota region’s utility and oil and gas customers. The companies are looking to provide customers with the “hardware, software and operators to deliver unmanned aerial technology.” (The News Tribune)

The Colorado Center of Excellence (CoE) for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting has launched its online support application for testing UAS in public safety. The mission of CoE is to “protect Colorado’s citizens, land and resources by researching and testing aerial firefighting techniques.” (Unmanned Aerial)