Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
24 Aug 17. Kongsberg’s K-MATE control system will be integrated with the SEA-KIT USV as part of a project being run by Hushcraft, the company announced on 21 August. The new SEA-KIT USV is being built by Hushcraft in the UK, and will be operated by SEA-KIT International. The USV, which is being designed to operate at sea without assistance for months at a time, can carry a deployable and retrievable payload of up to 2.5 tons. The system is being developed with a long-range, long-endurance ocean capability for independent seafloor mapping and similar ocean exploration applications. The K-MATE control system can be integrated with any vessel through an electrical interface. The system provides adaptive waypoint following for survey and AUV operations while accepting sensor data for scene analysis and collision avoidance. It is designed to follow mission plans to supervise operations or direct operator control for complex tasks. SEA-KIT will also be equipped with Kongsberg’s Maritime Broadband Radio for high bandwidth direct communication to shore, SeaPath 135 with an MRU5+ for heading, attitude and positioning and the AIS300 automatic positioning system. Kongsberg’s HiPAP acoustic positioning and control system will be used to supervise AUV operations.
SEA-KIT’s configuration will allow the vessel to carry a Hugin AUV. The USV’s hull is designed to carry different payloads including multibeam echo sounders such as the EM302. The USV will also have extended endurance options, making it suitable for trans-ocean survey operations. SEA-KIT is due to be launched in September 2017. (Source: Shephard)
24 Aug 17. On August 6th MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (MQ-1C ER) aircraft completed a 41.9-hour endurance flight, exceeding the 40 hour flight test goal. The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), designed and developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), flew out of El Mirage, Calif. in a representative U.S. Army mission configuration. Since the first flight of MQ-1C ER on October 29, 2016, the aircraft has flown 43 test flights and accumulated over 260 hours in the air.
“This is an important milestone for the MQ-1C ER program,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “The MQ-1C ER represents a significant enhancement in capability over the currently fielded MQ-1C and will be a game changer on the battlefield in support of our Army customer.”
Starting in late August, the MQ-1C ER production aircraft will begin flight test in Dugway, Utah for evaluation of the Army’s First Article Test (FAT). FAT will demonstrate MQ-1C ER’s mission capabilities, which include increased range, endurance, and payload capacity. In January 2018, MQ-1C ER will go through Logistics Demonstration (Log Demo) where aircraft maintainability will be validated. Then in March 2018, Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation2 (FOTE2) will demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to meet all Army operational requirements in preparation for fielding, which is planned for August 2018.
24 Aug 17. Technology leaders urge UN to impose ban on lethal robot weapons. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics companies have collectively urged the United Nations (UN) to impose a ban on lethal robot weapons. An open letter to the UN, which was signed by 116 founders of robotics and AI companies from 26 countries, was released at International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017) being held in Melbourne, Australia. The signatories include SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and Mustafa Suleyman, who is the head of Applied AI at Google DeepMind. In the letter, the technology experts have requested the UN ban the use of artificial intelligence in lethal autonomous weapons as it may lead to a very dangerous escalation.
The letter states: “As companies building the technologies in