Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
18 Oct 17. Winners announced in the latest round of the Autonomous Hazardous Scene Assessment (AHSA) Defence and Security competition – which will change the way chemical and bio-hazards are investigated.
Part of the Government’s innovation initiative, the project is funded jointly by the Ministry of Defence science and technology portfolio and by the Home Office. The overall competition is worth nearly £3m over 18 months. Run through the Defence and Security Accelerator, working with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), AHSA, to be known during phase 2 as ‘MINERVA’, is a competition to tackle the challenge of assessing scenes at incidents and on operations involving hazardous chemical or biological materials. With a potential benefit to defence and security operations at home and abroad, the competition intends to help bring the conceptual designs into being, demonstration and eventual use, more quickly than usual.
Phase 1, which ran for 6 months until July 2017, funded 18 development projects and was worth £1.3m.
Four of those initial phase 1 winners were then selected to develop their concepts further in this second phase. Early prototypes will be demonstrated by October 2018. Just over £1.6m total funding was awarded to the following phase 2 winners:
BMT Defence Services, with an unmanned aerial vehicle which has gas-sensing technology
Horiba MIRA, which has a robot with its own neural networks which can deploy on decontamination missions
Loughborough University, with a pocket-sized drone which can search for chemicals
Snake Eyes, by Autonomous Devices Limited, which can be posted through a letter box and relay 3D images of a space and can detect chemical agents.
Peter Stockel, from Dstl, said: “After a fast-paced first phase, we are now delighted to rapidly move the project forward into phase 2 with four highly innovative and technically exciting system propositions to tackle this priority challenge for UK Defence and Security. With continued involvement and demonstration with the user community, we aim to mature this emergent capability over the next 12 months to test the ‘art of the possible’ and accelerate this into the hands of the prospective users for further operational evaluation, both for MOD and the Home Office.”
17 Oct 17. Israeli defence company to help build drones for South Korea. Israel’s largest defence contractor is helping to build drones for South Korea’s military, which is in a perpetual standoff with neighbouring North Korea, and also for the country’s civilian market, the company said on Tuesday. State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said it partnered with Kankuk Carbon, a South Korean company specializing in composite material, to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The joint venture, called Korea Aviation Technologies, is first planning to manufacture a vertical-takeoff-and-landing UAV with a maximum takeoff weight of 300 to 450 kg (660 to 990 pounds), but it may branch into other models as well, IAI said.
Tension on the Korean peninsula has risen in recent weeks as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged threats and insults over the North’s development of missiles and nuclear weapons.+
IAI is Israel’s top-selling defence group, and its satellite, weapons and drones systems are used in many countries around the world. (Source: Google/Reuters)
17 Oct 17. Israel Aerospace Industries, Hankuk Carbon to jointly make drones for South Korean market. Israel Aerospace Industries says it has formed a joint venture with Korean company Hankuk Carbon to make unmanned aircraft together.
It says the new company, called Korea Aviation Technologies, will develop drones with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Its products will be aimed at both the military and