Weekend Roundup: July 31, 2020

This Week in the Unmanned Systems and Robotics World

Canada’s civil aviation authority, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), has issues a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to EHang for its EHang 216 autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV). In addition to this announcement, EHang has also announced plans to build a new AAV production facility in Yunfu city in Guangdong, China.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded the University of Pittsburgh a $1 million grant to study the accessibility of autonomous transportation for people with disabilities. The 18-month study is part of a DOT initiative announced in October 2019 for a “strategic plan dedicated to increasing accessibility to persons with disabilities.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

In an effort to improve how unmanned systems (UxS) are used to collect important ocean observations and augment the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) operational capabilities, NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) has partnered with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. According to NOAA, the 10-year agreement provides a framework for Scripps and OMAO’s new Unmanned Systems Operations Program to work together on specific projects to further UxS research, development, and operations. (NOAA)

Four companies will move forward in the Air Force program to build Skyborg, an artificial intelligent-enabled drone wingman. Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Kratos were awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $400 million. No seed money was immediately allocated, though, as the firms will have to compete against each other for future orders. (Defense News)

Real-Time Innovations has joined the Baidu Apollo autonomous driving partner ecosystem. The ecosystem is a joint effort to accelerate the development and adoption of autonomous driving on the Apollo driverless operating platform. (GlobeNewswire)

StoreDot, an Israeli startup, says that its ultra-fast battery charging technology can now be used to charge commercial drones in just five minutes, which the company describes as a “world first.” In an interview with the Times of Israel, StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf says that the technology will be “disruptive” for the drone industry. (The Times of Israel)

The University of Virginia’s first student autonomous racing club will be one of two dozen-plus university clubs to compete in the inaugural Indy Autonomous Challenge in the winter of 2021. The winner of the challenge will receive a $1 million prize. (UVA Today)