10 Mar 17. BlueBird Upgrades MicroB for Indian Army RFI. Israeli manufacturer BlueBird has updated its MicroB unmanned air vehicle to satisfy the requirements of an Indian army competition.
BlueBird chief executive Ronen Nadir reveals that the new version will not use the flying wing shape of the original MicroB.
“We came to the conclusion that this shape limits the aerodynamic capabilities of this small UAV,” he says.
The company has not released images of its new version, but Nadir says it will have a 2h flight endurance and an effective data link range of 8.1nm (15km).
India’s defence ministry has so far issued three requests for information linked to the army competition, and a formal request for proposals is expected to emerge in June. The service’s initial operational requirement is for 200 small UAV systems, each to include three air vehicles.
BlueBird has already delivered MicroB systems to a number of customers around the world. Nadir identifies users as including special forces units and first responders, plus those involved in protecting infrastructure.
Carrying an electro-optical or infrared sensor, the lightweight type can be deployed from a hand-held launcher within seconds, even in a crowded urban environment or through a window. (Source: UAS VISION/FlightGlobal)
09 Mar 17. Rolls-Royce invests in autonomous ship R&D. Rolls-Royce has received funding to further its work in developing remote and autonomous shipping technologies, the company announced on 8 March.
The research grant, from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, will enable Rolls-Royce to further invest in a research and development centre in Turku, Finland. The company plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centres, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.
The company is currently investing in a range of research and development projects. In Norway, this includes a new Marine Fleet Management Centre in Aalesund, to allow remote monitoring, data analysis, optimisation of ships and their on board equipment. The centre will allow Rolls-Royce to apply its ‘Power by the Hour’ concept, already proven in its aerospace business, to serve the marine sector. This service makes use of big data to monitor, plan and perform maintenance and repairs of onboard ship equipment.
Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, director, digital and systems – marine, said: ‘We are pleased to see the establishment of a centre for Remote Control and Autonomous Ships in Finland, and welcome the continued support from Tekes. We are looking at further funding and capability opportunities in countries including Finland, Norway, UK and Singapore to develop our ship intelligence technology and build customer partnerships worldwide.
‘By drawing on our existing capabilities in our marine business, together with the global expertise we have across the Rolls-Royce Group and our relationships with partners, we believe we can secure up to £200m of investment to revolutionise shipping.’ (Source: Shephard)
07 Mar 17. Heli-Expo 2017: VSR700 ready to fly. The shipborne VSR700, a unmanned helicopter VTOL system, is fast approaching its first flight without a safety pilot. The aircraft is derived from a light civil helicopter, the Cabri G2, and has been developed by Airbus Helicopters in partnership with French company DCNS. The 700kg UAV will have a ten-hour endurance capability and encompass a 100kg payload. It has a diesel engine which Airbus Helicopters says will contribute to a low fuel consumption. On board it will have plug and play sensors.
Airbus expects that the first flight will take place without the safety pilot before of the end of 2017. Next year will mark the first VSR700 prototype flight tests.
The first quarter of this year sees the first flight autonomous flight on a modified Cabri G2 with a safety pilot.
Jean-Brice Dumont, head of engineer