Weekend Roundup



This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

A startup company called May Mobility that is looking to offer its autonomous driving technology to companies with commercial fleets made its official debut on August 21 at Y Combinator’s demo day. May Mobility wants to focus on customers that have vehicle needs in areas where routes can be easily mapped and conditions are fairly predictable. This includes areas such as closed residential communities, business districts and campuses (school and corporate). (TechCrunch)

This week, the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Clark County, Washington demonstrated its new UAS, which will be used for “specific incidents” and emergency situations. Deputy Jason Granneman emphasized that the UAS will not be used as a surveillance tool over the public, saying that “it’s very important for the public to know that we’re just not out flying these around just every day and doing massive surveillance. We use these for very specific applications.” (KATU News)

A company called Flytrex has received permission from the civil aviation authority in Iceland to perform commercial delivery flights using the company’s autonomous delivery UAS called the “Mule,” which is capable of carrying up to six and a half pounds in a distance of six miles. The flights will be conducted in partnership with Iceland’s largest shopping and retail website called AHA. The delivery UAS, which will be handled by specially trained AHA representatives, are expected to begin operation in Iceland this month. (Flytrex)

At InterDrone 2017, Atlas Dynamics will provide live demonstrations of its autonomous professional UAS called the Atlas Pro. Some of the features of the Atlas Pro include a flight time of 55 minutes, a range of more than 31 miles, and it is weather resistant. The UAS is built to operate in several different markets, including emergency response, security and infrastructure inspection. (UAV Expert News)

Advanced Aircraft Company (AAC) has announced that its Hercules UAS will begin customer deliveries in December of this year. The Hercules is a long endurance multi-rotor UAS that incorporates a “series hybrid electric propulsion system,” and also has “patent-pending aerodynamic design improvements.” These technologies allow the aircraft to fly up to three and a half hours or carry a four pound payload for two hours. This UAS can be used for a variety of applications, including infrastructure inspection, mapping and first response missions. (PR Newswire)

Walmart has filed a patent for a “gas-filled aerial transport” that would serve as a flying warehouse filled with inventory. The inventory would be picked up and delivered by UAS. Walmart’s application with the US Patent and Trademark Office says that the flying warehouse would dispatch the UAS from a built-in launching bay, after they are loaded by a “system that automatically receives and attaches at least one package.” According to Walmart, the lifting force for its flying warehouse should allow it to fly at heights between 500 and 1,000 feet. (New York Post)

In an effort to achieve “high-speed, high-endurance and high-payload capabilities for vertical lift platforms,” researchers for the U.S. Army say that they are interested in building a collaborative relationship with Aurora Flight Sciences, a company that is developing and manufacturing advanced UAS and aerospace vehicles. The two entities have spent plenty of time together this summer, as in mid-August, U.S. Army Research Laboratory aerospace engineers visited Aurora. Prior to that, Aurora officials visited the Army's research facilities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army)

After testing 60 participants using a simulated civilian cargo flight, researchers at the University of Liverpool believe that Video Game Players (VGPs) could make effective UAS operators. The simulated flight tested the abilities of three different groups—VGPs, private pilots and professional pilots—and allowed researchers to assess their “levels of accuracy, confidence and confidence-accuracy judgements (W-S C-A).” Charged with making 21 decision tasks that covered three levels of danger/risk, VGPs, along with professional pilots, demonstrated the highest level of decision confidence, and VGPs maintained a “constant and positive W-S C-A relationship across decision danger/risk.” (EurekAlert!)