Weekend Roundup



This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

NBA superstar LeBron James is headlining a broadcast and digital ad campaign that seeks to build trust in autonomous vehicles. Produced by Intel, the first ad shows James expressing hesitation about riding in a self-driving car. After being convinced to take a ride in the vehicle, James gives his approval of the technology at the end of his ride, saying “hey yo, I’m keeping this,” by the end of the ad. (The Verge)

Billed the “first on-street test of an autonomous vehicle in Canada,” a BlackBerry QNX-equipped self-driving car recently made its debut on a street in suburban Ottawa as a part of a public demonstration. During the demonstration, which took place on a closed street, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, councillor Marianne Wilkinson, and John Wall, general manager of BlackBerry QNX, all rode in the vehicle. (CTV News)

During a demonstration that was open to the media and the public, the Casper Police Department in Casper, Wyoming used their new UAS during a staged water rescue situation on the North Platte River. Going forward, the UAS will be used to obtain aerial footage during various situations including, but not limited to, crashes, fires, and rescue missions. (K2 Radio)

During the Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) conference in Vancouver, Canada, Imperial College London's Aerial Robotics Lab presented the SpiderMAV UAS, which “shoots ropes that magnetically cling to surfaces to anchor itself in place.” The UAS concept is a DJI Matrice 100 UAS modified with two anchor-firing systems: “a 'perching' emitter on top that uses compressed gas to shoot magnet-threads upward that reel in until taut, spider-style, and a 'stabilizing' pod on the bottom that fires three anchors outward to keep the SpiderMAV in place.” (Engadget)

After a multi-year collaboration between Six Maritime and Prowler Marine, the entities have announced that they have developed an affordable USV. The USV combines geospatial technology with international port security needs. (Six Maritime)

Madrid, Spain’s Alpha Unmanned Systems (AUS) and San Diego, California’s Planck Aerosystems have entered into a new technology partnership. AUS’ Alpha 800 helicopter UAV, which has been selected as the “Preferred Helicopter UAV Platform” of Planck, will utilize Planck’s technology to land autonomously on moving vessels. (Alpha Unmanned Systems)

Federal authorities have granted the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in Walnut Creek, California permission to test EasyMile’s 12-passenger autonomous shuttles. The shuttles will be tested within the 600-acre Bishop Ranch business park, and will make an appearance on public roads. (Government Technology)

As of February of this year, nearly 1,800 North Dakota residents had registered themselves as hobbyist UAS pilots. That number is more than 500 more than the amount that was registered in May 2016, which was the deadline by which small UAS had to be registered. The state’s non-hobbyist group—also known as UAS that are used for commercial purposes—also had an increase during the same timeframe, with 181 registrations as of February, compared to 46 in May 2016. (The Bismarck Tribune)

The BIRD Foundation has granted $900,000 in funding to Mantaro Networks, Inc. and Beeper Communications Israel to support their development of Unmanned Search and Rescue Systems (USRS). The goal of the joint project, known as Project USRS, is to “fill in “capability gaps” for first responders, as identified by Homeland Security and supported by the National Technology Plan for Emergency Response to Catastrophic Incidents.” (Business Wire)

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has received a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) UAS training course, courtesy of Consortiq. This is believed to be the “first example of routine training of this type undertaken outside of segregated airspace for emergency services in the UK.” (Consortiq)

The most widely deployed UAS in the United States Department of Defense fleet, AeroVironment’s Puma AE and Raven small UAS, will be enhanced with new upgrades. Next March during the AUSA Global Force Symposium, the new aircraft, known as Puma 3 and Raven 3, will be unveiled. (AeroVironment)