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26 Jan 07. Singapore Launches Urban Robot Challenge. Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has launched a competition with a cash prize of $652,000 to create an “urban warfare robot.” Dubbed TechX Challenge, the competition seeks to create a robot that will “be capable of autonomous navigation and target engagement,” said Mary Chen of DSTA corporate communications. “It will be required to navigate itself in a number of different settings, from an outdoor environment to an indoor urban location,” said Chen.
Additional requirements include overcoming obstacles, negotiating stairs, and operating an elevator to search and engage designated targets before navigating back to the starting point. The announcement, made on Jan. 23 by Ng Eng Hen, the second minister for defense, , allows for any institution, foreign or domestic, to compete. The closing date for registration is May with finals scheduled for August 2008. “This will serve to overcome current limitations in urban operations. Through TechX Challenge, we hope to stretch traditional boundaries and create a more vibrant defense R&D scene in Singapore. We believe the challenge posed will excite and attract many enthusiasts in robotics. We look forward to their participation in bringing their ideas to fruition,” said DSTA Chief Executive Richard Lim. (Source: Defense News)

Jan 07. The United States Air Force’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Battlelab, in conjunction with Sensing Systems, has undertaken a multi-phase series of demonstrations involving advanced digital media management of General Atomic’s Predator B® media (video, audio, and sensor metadata). On Thursday, January 18th, 2007, UAV Battlelab will conduct the third segment (second Phase II segment) in the series of demonstrations highlighting a mock Ground Control Station (GCS) built on Tungsten; Sensing’s advanced multimedia management software development kit (SDK). The demonstration will take place at UAV Battlelab’s facilities in Indian Springs, NV. During the demonstration Sensing will further demonstrate Tungsten’s media management capability by highlighting advanced media archival options, and content based query via indexing of UAV Battlelab specific KLV fields and annotation, and media display on web based interfaces. (Source: Shephard)

29 Jan 07. RE2, Inc., a leading provider of JAUS software solutions and unmanned systems technologies, announced today that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by the U.S. Army to develop a small, high-speed, highly-maneuverable unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with a manipulator arm. The current state of technology for small UGVs is varied and complex. For example, small UGVs utilized by the Army in the field are required to perform a variety of tasks such as surveillance, under car inspection, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), quite often in hostile environments. Small UGV platforms range from fast reconnaissance vehicles with simple payloads to slower vehicles with limited mobility and complex manipulators. The U.S. Army is seeking to bridge the gap between the two by developing a fast, agile UGV with a simple manipulator arm. (Source: Shephard)

27 Jan 07. At IDEX 2007, AAI Corporation (AAI) and Marine Robotic Vessels International, LLC (MRV International) will be unveiling the Interceptor Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) for the first time in public. This fourth generation, modular, adaptable and affordable unmanned vessel has been specifically designed for security and public service applications, ranging from anti-piracy patrol through harbour security to oil rig surveillance. MRV International is a marine technology company specializing in marine robotics and has developed three generations of Unmanned Surface Vessels. MRV International combines over 110 years of expertise in the highly specialized areas of stealth marine vehicles, marine propulsion, remote operated software/systems engineering, p

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