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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

30 Apr 13. Special Report: Unmanned Systes. Canada’s military wants its next unmanned aerial system to be capable of dropping search-and-rescue supplies in the Arctic and in other areas as it looks to expand UAV roles into activities formerly conducted by manned platforms. Canada plans to spend between C$1bn (US$998m) and $1.5bn on a new fleet of UAVs. Lt. Gen. Yvan Blondin, head of the Royal Canadian Air Force, explained to the Senate defense committee March 25 what he is looking for in the new fleet. (Source: glstrade.com/Aol Defense.com)

03 May 13. Australian DSTO and Deakin University set to advance haptic arm robot development. The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has signed a licence agreement with Deakin University to advance the development of the prototype haptic arm counter explosive disposal robot for use by the national army in combat operations. The organisations will jointly work to modify the technology to a configuration deemed sufficient for consideration by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in future. DSTO chief defence scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said the licence agreement enabled the university to engage commercial partners for production and distribution of the technology and other haptic systems for the programme. (Source: army-technology.com)

30 Apr 13. China’s UAV development appears to have bypassed the cottage industry stage where many Western UAV programs find their roots and has emerged onto the high-tech stage as if it appeared out a fog. The staggering numbers of UAVs on display at the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow were too many to count. Just six years before, at the 2006 Zhuhai Airshow, you could count them with one hand. Now there are UAV conferences and exhibitions in China along with a glossy magazine full of advertisements dubbed, “Unmanned Vehicles,” published by China Aviation Publishing and Media. The 2012 Vanguard Wings — UAV Conference and Exhibition, Beijing, had more than 60 UAVs on display. In 2011, China held the fourth Beijing Police Equipment and Anti-terrorism UAV Exhibition with displays of smaller UAVs geared more for street surveillance. Information about these conferences, as well as a wide range of information on Chinese UAV companies, is available at uavdata.org in Chinese. (Source: Defense News)
29 Apr 13. LaserMotive, an independent company specializing in delivering electric power via lasers, unveiled InvisiTower, the world’s first tethered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft system powered by laser over optical fiber. The new, portable system can power any multi-rotor helicopter indefinitely using laser power sent via fiber optic cable, enabling aircraft to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The first public flight of an aircraft powered by the new system took place last week at the SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing (DS&S) tradeshow at the Baltimore Convention Center. InvisiTower enables any helicopter to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The system is compact and portable (small enough to fit in the back of an SUV) and does not require a pilot to fly — just someone to monitor the video coming from it. (Source: Yahoo!/Marketwired)

30 Apr 13. In this age of advanced technology, how hard could it be to develop a robotic bird that flies by flapping its wings? Despite the apparent simplicity of the idea, it’s very hard-if you want the bird to actually fly. And how hard could it be to make a robot bird whose wings can flap independently of each other? So hard that it’s been a breakthrough that’s been out of reach for engineers-until now. University of Maryland Professors S. K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck and their students have developed and demonstrated a new robotic bird, “Robo Raven,” whose wings flap completely independently of each other, and also can be programmed to perform any desired motion, enabling the bird to perform aerobatic maneuvers. This is the first time a robotic bird wit

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