Weekend Roundup



This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

Week of 11/20/17

Intelsat General has successfully demonstrated beam switching capabilities of an in-flight UAS operating on the Intelsat 29e satellite. According to Intelsat, the tests validated the compatibility of the Intelsat EpicNG platform with the GA-ASI Block 5 Predator B/MQ-9’s newly developed beam switching capability. (Intelsat)

SPH Engineering has launched UgCS, which is a centralized UAS management platform for Police, Search and Rescue, Firefighter and Security Service Command centers. The platform is designed to facilitate efficient UAS implementation in first response and surveillance operations, as it allows Command center operators to track on map real-time position of the UAS being used in-field, and receive live video streams. (UgCS)

GENIUS NY has announced the 16 semi-finalists in the competition’s second round. The semi-finalists will compete for $3 million in investments. Chosen from a pool of more than 250 submissions, the 16 companies, which are developing innovations in the UAS industry, come from the United Kingdom (one), Switzerland (two) and the United States (13). (Genius NY)

A Boston-based startup company called Sea Machines Robotics has developed autonomous technology for ships. Back in September, the company released its first product, the Sea Machines 300, which is an autonomous control system that can be installed in workboats. The technology gives a boat a certain amount of self-awareness, allowing it to move from point to point while avoiding obstacles or crashing with other vessels. (BGR)

NOAA Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) of the Air Resources Laboratory has selected Black Swift Technologies to integrate its SwiftCore Flight Management System (FMS) with a UAV Factory Penguin BE UAV platform, which will be the first integration of the system with the Penguin BE UAV platform. BST’s FMS was chosen because of its reliability, intuitive user interface and precise autopilot capabilities. (PR Web)

Singapore is optimistic that in 2022, three different districts in the city-state will have autonomous buses operating on their public roads. The autonomous buses will be used to provide better connectivity, as they complement public buses driven by humans. (Reuters)

The University of Exeter and the National Oceanography Centre have created the Calibrated pC02 in Air and Surface Ocean Sensor (CaPASOS), which measures carbon dioxide in remote parts of the world’s oceans. Unmanned boats will carry CaPASOS as they journey to various locations including the Southern Ocean. (University of Exeter)

Week of 11/27/17

GeoSpectrum Technologies (GTI) has been awarded two contracts from the Department of National Defence under the ADSA Science and Technology (S&T) program. Under the first contract, known as Long Range Detection and Communications, GTI will build and test a “Very Low Frequency (VLF) acoustic source for long distance underwater detection and potentially basin-scale (1000 km) communications.” It will also support, as an example, a UUV conducting under-ice work. (GeoSpectrum Technologies)

During the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Infiniti unveiled its newest QX50 crossover vehicle, which is the first Infiniti vehicle to be equipped with Nissan's ProPILOT semi-autonomous driver assist system. ProPILOT takes partial command of the vehicle's acceleration, braking and steering operations, to help drivers maintain their “bearing and speed” while traveling on the open road. (Engadget)

At Texas A&M University, a doctoral student and an associate professor from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and The Estimation Decision and Planning Lab, have developed an indoor mapping technology that gives autonomous robots the ability to navigate extremely large-scale environments that don’t have a global positioning system (GPS). This technology would be especially beneficial in environments like Amazon warehouses, which are millions of square feet in size. (Texas A&M University Engineering)

After signing a Memorandum of Intent (MOI), the European Space Agency (ESA) and Rolls-Royce will investigate how space technology can be used to develop autonomous and remote-controlled ships. ESA and Rolls-Royce will use their expertise to “analyze and implement space-enabled services for autonomous and remote-controlled shipping,” which reduces the chance for human error, and allows crews to focus on more important tasks. (European Space Agency)

To check smuggling and infiltration from “across the porous gaps along the India-Bangladesh border,” India’s Border Security Force (BSF) will deploy UAS and build a smart fence. The force has approached the home ministry to obtain four UAS, so that it can provide “effective air surveillance of vulnerable infiltration areas of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura” along the India-Bangladesh border that it is responsible for guarding. (Times of India)

Velodyne LiDAR has unveiled its new VLS-128 LiDAR sensor for the autonomous vehicle market. The VLS-128 LiDAR sensor has 128 laser channels, and features the “trifecta of highest resolution, longest range, and the widest surround field-of-view of any LiDAR system available today.” (Business Wire)

Recently, Cyberhawk used UAS to inspect two concrete pressurized water reactor (PWR) containment domes for American Electric Power (AEP) at the Cook Nuclear Plant, which is located on 650 acres along Lake Michigan's eastern shoreline in Berrien County, Michigan. Cyberhawk says that this was the first time a UAS was used according to the Section XI Code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which refers to several American Concrete Institute standards for completing an examination. (Unmanned Aerial)

Below: Velodyne LiDAR’s new VLS-128™ LiDAR sensor is built for the rapidly expanding autonomous vehicle market, featuring the trifecta of highest resolution, longest range, and the widest surround field-of-view of any LiDAR system available today. Photo courtesy of Business Wire.