Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
05 Dec 19. Safran and Outsight announce their partnership on autonomous mobility technologies and embark its revolutionary 3D Semantic Camera on different types of vehicles, drones and other aircrafts.
Outsight develops innovative solutions that allow autonomous vehicles to simultaneously perceive and understand their environment in 3D and has unveiled its revolutionary 3D Semantic Camera in September 2019. These new capabilities are part of Safran’s strategy in the automation of vehicles and smart-machines.
“This agreement is part of Safran’s strategy to prepare for vehicle empowerment and related equipment. As a European leader in tactical UAVs and with strong ground robotics developments, like the” Furious” project for the DGA, Safran is currently at the forefront in the field of platform empowerment. This agreement allows our two companies to pool their skills to integrate technological bricks developed by Outsight into Safran products” said Martin Sion, President of Safran Electronics & Defense.
“We were impressed by Safran’s technological know-how and vision in areas adjacent to ours, including 3D laser perception and automation. Their ability to integrate our 3D Semantic Camera into their solutions is an undeniable asset. We are honored by the trust shown by this multi-faceted partnership”, says Raul Bravo, co-founder and President of Outsight.
The partnership signed between Safran and Outsight includes specific projects for the co-development of solutions combining Outsight and Safran technologies, for applications such as off-road vehicles, drones or aircraft during taxiing.
03 Dec 19. BlueBird Aero Systems’ WanderB UAV makes regional debut. BlueBird Aero Systems’ WanderB vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) electric mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made its Latin America debut on 2 December at the Expodefensa trade show in Bogota.
The fully autonomous WanderB is designed to facilitate covert, over-the-hill operations or extensive, day-and-night intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, according to a customer statement. Itai Toren, BlueBird vice-president for marketing and business development, told Jane’s on 2 December at Expodefensa that the aircraft has 50 km communications range, 2.5 hours endurance, and can carry a variety of payloads including day or night cameras, dual sensors, and lasers.
The WanderB also has 3,281 ft operational altitude and 13 kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW). Toren said the aircraft can carry 5.5 kg of batteries, and a 1.5 kg payload for maximum endurance. The WanderB has a wingspan of 3.1 m and a fuselage length of 1.79 m. The aircraft has an airspeed of 32-65 kt.
Toren said while this is the WanderB’s regional debut, the aircraft is operational in other locations. He said BlueBird also has customers in Colombia and Latin America for other aircraft the company develops ranging from military to homeland security and civilian use. BlueBird was sharing a booth at Expodefensa with SkyBird, which Toren said was a BlueBird subsidiary based in Colombia. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Dec 19. China advances unmanned underwater capabilities. of Automation. China’s scientific and defence science communities have revealed several active autonomous and unmanned underwater vehicle (AUV and UUV) development programmes within the final quarter of 2019, demonstrating the country’s intent to construct and field increasingly sophisticated and capable systems for military and civilian applications.
In November the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced that it had performed a 37-day trial in the South China Sea with the indigenously developed Haijing 2000 (Sea Whale 2000) AUV and covered a total distance of approximately 1,086 n miles. Although the institute did not reveal the AUV’s mission path, the claimed distance set a national record and is the equivalent of a round trip from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s strategic Yulin Naval Base to the Spratly Islands.
The torpedo-shaped Sea Whale 2000 is being developed by Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Technology Department at CAS’ Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) and measures 3 m long and displaces 200 kg. According to the institute, the prototype AUV can cruise at speeds of up to 2 kt and has a maximum operating depth of 6,561 ft (2,000 m).
The AUV is equipped with a wide range of sensors that designed to conduct environmental surveys including current flows, water temperature, salinity, and trace chemicals. SIA claims that it has incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) technology that enables the vehicle to optimise its endurance via smart navigation and power management techniques.
The latest sea trial comes after extensive testing in Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake) in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang in the third quarter of 2018, which lasted for 28 days and comprised as many as 157 dive tests. These validated the AUV’s hydrodynamic design, navigational algorithms, and power and propulsion systems, paving the way for further testing. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Nov 19. Kazakhstan to Manufacture Skylark Locally. Kazakhstan Engineering announced that its subsidiary Kazakhstan Aviation Industry will start assembling Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles from 2020 at a rate of four systems per year.
The announcement comes following a previous agreement with Elbit Systems for the purchase of UAVs, with the Kazakh army operating a variant of the Elbit Systems Skylark I-series of surveillance/reconnaissance UAVs. Based on information published on the website of state-owned defense equipment manufacturer Kazakhstan Engineering, the UAV displayed was most likely the Skylark I-LEX.
The Skylark I is a light UAV. It is designed as a man-packed system for tactical surveillance and reconnaissance. The Skylark is launched by hand. The payload consists of a daylight CCD or optional FLIR for night operations. During operation, it sends real-time video to a portable ground station. Recovery involves a deep stall manoeuvre, landing on a small inflatable cushion. It has a range of 20/40 km.
The Skylark is already in operation with the militaries of Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden. It has been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Skylark I was also selected by French Special Forces (Commando parachutiste de l’Air n° 10) in March 2008.
Previous operators, who have now retired the system, include Australia and Canada. In total, it has been selected by more than 20 operators worldwide. (Source: UAS VISION/Army Recognition)
29 Nov 19. Chinese Tech Firm Tests Urban Attack Drone. A Chinese technology firm is testing a new attack drone specifically designed to help ground troops in street-to-street combat and hopes to sell it abroad, according to reports. Engineers recently completed a successful air-to-ground test firing exercise for the mini quadcopter named Tianyi, Modern Weaponry reported.
The developer, Tianjin Zhongwei Aerospace Data System Technology, said the unmanned aerial vehicle had been designed to carry out both reconnaissance missions and close-range strikes against armoured vehicles or individuals in an urban environment.
“It is suitable for circumstances that include asymmetric combat, counterterrorism and special forces [operations] and street battles,” the report said. (Source: UAS VISION/Reuters)
02 Dec 19. SPH Engineering the developer of UgCS CC in collaboration with Latvia mobile network provider LMT organised a unique done’s #BVLOS flight demonstration as opening of the 5G Techritory, the Baltic Sea Region 5G ecosystem Forum. For the first time in the region, drone flight BVLOS (beyond the visual line of sight) was conducted on the mobile network enabled by UgCS CC, demonstrably switching from one base station to another. The drone was controlled remotely, by Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) president Juris Binde and Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, while the drone was flying within the Adazi airfield territory, 25km away from the forum venue. LMT tests demonstrated that during the entire duration of the flight, the mobile network strength already meets 97.6% of the requirements for successful remote drone management.
“Drone flights over the mobile network can be used for different industrial purposes. For example, gas and oil pipelines, power supply lines, seaports, which need to be monitored on a regular basis. We can do that with a pre-set track we can send the drones for inspection flights. It’s significantly cheaper and more effective.
When we decided to demonstrate to such a large audience a live flight approx. 20 km from here, many said we are crazy or brave. To show something live is very risky. However, we are used to being risky, because our mobile networks are live all the time.” – Dr.Juris Binde, President of Latvian Mobile Telephone.
The British Robotics Seed Fund is the first SEIS-qualifying investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics businesses. The focus of the fund is to deliver superior returns to investors by making targeted investments in a mixed basket of the most innovative and disruptive businesses that are exploiting the new generation of robotics technologies in defence and other sector applications.
Automation and robotisation are beginning to drive significant productivity improvements in the global economy heralding a new industrial revolution. The fund allows investors to benefit from this exciting opportunity, whilst also delivering the extremely attractive tax reliefs offered by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). For many private investors, the amount of specialist knowledge required to assess investments in robotics is not practical and hence investing through a fund structure makes good sense.
The fund appoints expert mentors to work with each investee company to further maximise the chance of success for investors. Further details are available on request.