Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
14 Apr 20. Covid-19: Spain’s UME deploys multirotor UAVs to combat pandemic. Spain’s specialist Military Emergency Unit (UME) is making use of modified unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to support military intervention efforts to mitigate coronavirus outbreaks in large and often difficult to access urban areas. As part of the military Operation ‘Balmis’, the unit has deployed as many as 1,100 of its personnel daily, with operations centred on cleaning streets and major infrastructure such as airports and railway stations.
As well as its other tasks in co-ordination with the three main armed services, the para-military Guardia Civil police, and regular police forces, the UME has been “seeking ways to improve procedures to each day be more effective in the fight against Covid-19”, a spokesperson for the unit told Jane’s. For its Transmissions Battalion (BTUME) that has included fielding two DJI Agras MG1 multirotor UAVs loaned by local company Stock RC and a Hexa AG system from Sevilla-based manufacturer DroneTools. According to DJI specifications, the Agras MG1 has a 1,520mm wide footprint and a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 24.5kg. Eight 770 W motors enable it to fly at a maximum speed of 22m/s, although it typically operates at speeds of around 8m/s. It carries a 10-litre liquid tank and a quad-nozzle spray system that dispenses its contents between a 4–6m width depending on its altitude. The DroneTool Hexa AG has a 1,580mm wide footprint and a MTOW of 25 kg. It is also equipped with a 1-litre liquid tank and a quad-nozzle spray system, and typically operates at speeds of around 7 m/s. The BTUME modified these UASs to carry disinfectants and carried out initial testing by conducting “cloud spraying over open country and vehicles from a height of about 3m, obtaining satisfactory results” for both types of targets. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Apr 20. On March 20, 2020, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and sensor operators from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 (VMU-1) conducted their first operational flight of an MQ-9A Reaper Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in the Middle East. The multi-sensor reconnaissance-equipped MQ-9A UAS produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has provided crucial support to USMC’s forward operations on the battlefield.
With the oversight of the GA-ASI team, the VMU-1 “Watchdog” crews took control of a Company Owned/Company Operated (COCO) MQ-9A supporting forward deployed Marines. This USMC achievement comes shortly after surpassing 7,000 hours of COCO flight operations since September 2018.
“This achievement represents a unique milestone and example of the Marine Corps’ legacy of innovation,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “As a partner with the Marine Corps, we look forward to expanding the role of Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) UAS in support of maritime littoral missions.”
VMU-1 leases MQ-9A Reaper aircraft to fulfill its urgent needs request for persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) in Afghanistan. GA-ASI has been working with VMU-1 as the USMC transitions its COCO MQ-9A contract to a Government Owned/Government Operated (GOGO) contract in the coming year.
The GOGO capability fulfills the Commandant’s directive for USMC Group 5 persistent ISR capability with strike. VMU-1 will be the test bed and incubator to provide crucial information, lessons learned, requirements, tactics, techniques, and procedures that will aid in the USMC efforts for the successful acquisition and fielding of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Expeditionary (MUX) Group 5 capability.
15 Apr 20. Parrot to manufacture its Short-Range Reconnaissance drone prototypes for the Department of Defense in the United States of America. Parrot has passed another milestone in the United States Army’s Short-Range Reconnaissance drone program. As the final steps of this selection process, Parrot will participate in an operational assessment to support an Army production award decision. In anticipation of an increased demand signal from the Department of Defense, Parrot will start manufacturing prototypes of its dedicated drone in the United States of America.
The mature prototype presented by Parrot, designed with carefully selected components, has now been approved for initial manufacturing. To support Parrot’s commitment to U.S. industry capabilities, Parrot is currently finalizing its U.S. production chain with its partner NEOTech to build its final prototype batch for delivery to the U.S. Army and the Defense Innovation Unit in July 2020. The final prototype assembly includes the installation at NEOTech facility of all software developed by Parrot in Paris (France) ensuring high IP protection with no data dissemination. NeoTech and Parrot are also partnering to achieve the highest quality standard in the industry to meet the U.S. Army requirements.
With over 40 years of heritage in electronics manufacturing, NEOTech specializes in high-reliability programs primarily in the aerospace and defense industry, medical products, and high-tech industrial markets. NEOTech has a highly talented engineering group and multiple manufacturing locations throughout the U.S. and is well recognized for its excellent customer service and high-level industry specific certifications. This partnership agreement reinforces Parrot’s strategy to expand in the U.S. through a dedicated approach of the defense & security markets.
“Parrot is honored to work with the DoD on this highly strategic project,” said Laurent Rouchon, VP Security & Defense at Parrot. “We have successfully met the high standards set over the last 12 months on the prototype efforts and we look forward to entering this final phase and launching production in the USA.”
In April 2019, the U.S. Army and the Defense Innovation Unit selected Parrot and five additional commercial drone manufacturers to develop Short-Range Reconnaissance prototype drones for military use. As a result of the award, Parrot developed a prototype of the drone between May and November of 2019. Parrot focused the company’s Paris based research and development efforts toward engineering a drone dedicated to the U.S. Army specifications. A prototype unit was finalized in November 2019, and the initial testing phase continued through January 2020. The initial positive results have encouraged Parrot to begin exploring the industrialization phase in early 2020.
Founded in 1994 by Henri Seydoux, Parrot is today the leading European group in the fast-growing industry of drones. Visionary, at the forefront of innovation, Parrot is the only group to be positioned across the entire value chain, from equipment to services and software. Its microdrones, recognized for their performance and robustness, address consumer and professional uses. The Group also has a set of advanced professional solutions (drones, sensors, software) intended for businesses, large corporations and governments. Its expert solutions are focused primarily on three vertical markets: (i) Agriculture, (ii) 3D Mapping, Surveying and Inspection, and (iii) Defense and Security.
The Parrot Group designs and engineers its products in Europe, mainly in France and Switzerland. It currently employs over 500 people worldwide and makes the majority of its sales outside of France. Parrot, headquartered in Paris, has been listed since 2006 on Euronext Paris (FR0004038263 – PARRO).
To learn more, visit: www.parrot.com and these subsidiaries www.pix4d.com, www.sensefly.com, www.micasense.com.
NEOTech combines the strengths of three leading contract manufacturers: NATEL, EPIC, and OnCore. With their position and experience as an industry-leader in electronics manufacturing, NEOTech focuses on low-to-medium volume – high-mix designs for high-complexity/high-reliability products primarily in the defense/aerospace, industrial and medical industries.
NEOTech offers a wide array of design and manufacturing services including: full product lifecycle engineering services, manufacturing and testing of microelectronics, cable & harness interconnect products, PCBA, full box build services and aftermarket repair and fulfillment services. NEOTech and its over 3,800 employees are dedicated to solve tough engineering problems, providing customers with high-reliability, high-quality electronic solutions.
Headquartered in Chatsworth, CA, NEOTech has engineering locations and manufacturing locations in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Mexico, and China. NEOTech holds and maintains industry specific certifications that include ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485, ISO14001 and MIL-PRF-38534.
To learn more, visit www.NEOTech.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
14 Apr 20. Covid-19: WB Group pitches FlyEye 3.0 mini-UAV for enforcement and medical logistics operations. WB Group has offered its FlyEye 3.0 mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to assist the Polish government in its efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country
The company believes that the FlyEye 3.0 could be used to perform airborne surveillance in support of quarantine enforcement as well as deliver critical medical materials to areas with high rates of infection.
The proposition has been made during an emergency meeting chaired by Małgorzata Darowska, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Infrastructure for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Singularity University, in late March.
Jarosław Zając, President of the Board of WB Group subsidiary Flytronic, which developed the air vehicle, said airborne surveillance systems might help law enforcement agencies during quarantine supervision. (Source: Jane’s)
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.