Weekend Roundup



This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

In an effort to “meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications,” Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda announced a new mobility service business alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle during CES 2018. The new e-Palette Alliance will utilize Toyota’s proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to create a suite of connected mobility technologies and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. (Toyota)

During CES 2018, a company called Autel Robotics USA announced the EVO, its new flagship aircraft line. EVO is a portable camera UAS with foldable arms and a sleek, compact form factor. Among its many features, EVO has a 30-minute flight time, it is equipped with front & downward (computer vision) and rear (IR Sensor) Obstacle Avoidance Systems, and it has a range of 4.2 miles. (Autel Robotics)

General Motors (GM) has unveiled its fourth-generation self-driving Cruise AV, which operates without a driver, and does not include a steering wheel, pedals or manual controls. GM has filed a Safety Petition with the Department of Transportation for the vehicle, which the company says is the “first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own.” (General Motors)

The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced an award competition for a new pilot program called the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative (DESI), which supports “university-industry collaboration on use-inspired basic research.” The theme of this year’s announcement revolves around technologies that can “enable a new generation of sensing, mobility, and autonomy.” With that in mind, one of the research topics is highly‐maneuverable autonomous UAS. (Department of Defense)

Fortress UAV has announced that it has expanded repair and replacement support for several popular UAS models, including the DJI Mavic, the DJI Spark and the Yuneec Breeze. Fortress UAV is an authorized dealer for DJI, and it is also an authorized repair center for Yuneec brand UAS as well. (Business Wire)

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.’s Unmanned Systems Division (USD) recently received an approximate $23 million production award for a new high performance, jet powered UAS that has been under development. According to Kratos, most of the work that will be performed under this new contract award is expected to be conducted “over the approximate next 12 months.” (Kratos)

The American Rail Engineers (ARE) Corporation has acquired Media Wing, LLC, which is a New England based UAV/Drone Data Collection, dba AirShark, and Video Production Company. Through the acquisition, ARE will expand its engineering, software development, bridge inspection services and nation-wide footprint to include UAS operations, image analysis, GIS modeling and video rendering. (ARE Corporation)

Kraken Robotic Systems Inc. has completed the development of a real-time Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) system. The SAS system was successfully integrated and tested onboard a US Navy REMUS 600 AUV operated by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Rhode Island. (Kraken Robotics)

A University of California (UC), Irvine alumnus named Shaoshan Liu is attempting to develop affordable self-driving vehicles through a company he co-founded in 2016 called PerceptIn. Liu says that PerceptIn’s demo vehicle will debut on the global market in 2018. (Los Angeles Times)

A set of 20-year-old German twins known as “The Real Life Guys” has developed a “bathtub drone” that would, in theory, transport people to their destinations by flying over rushing commuters and gridlocked traffic. The twins completed a human flight with the UAS—minus the water—that was controlled by a pilot on the ground. The twins believe that the next step is to give whoever is in the bathtub full control of the UAS. (Digital Trends)

ABB is embarking on a new project with Volvo Buses for Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Through the project, ABB will provide its state-of-the-art Heavy Vehicle Chargers (HVC) 300P for the upcoming project to deliver two autonomous driving electric buses for the island by the beginning of 2019. The HVC 300P fast charging system delivers 300 Kilowatts DC power, and will recharge a battery in three to six minutes. (ABB)