Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
30 Aug 23. uAvionix and Choctaw Nation Complete First US Flights Exercising FAA and FCC Approvals for Aviation Protected C-Band and BVLoS Operations.
uAvionix, operating at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) Emerging Aviation Technology Center, completed the first true Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight in non-segregated airspace using aviation protected C-Band in the United States.
Serving as the Command and Control Communications Service Provider (C2CSP), uAvionix completed the historic flights for CNO, FAA and industry leaders to demonstrate the effectiveness of combining Command and Control (C2) link management and situational awareness for Detect and Avoid (DAA) through the company’s SkyLine software service offering. The flight, a culmination of a multi-year effort involving engineering, operations teams and regulatory review, heralds a significant advancement for UAS operators and businesses seeking to commercialize scalable UAS operations such as medical and package delivery, linear utility inspection, and emergency management.
“The SkyLine software provides link management and detect and avoid services across multiple frequencies and data inputs to form the cornerstone of an FCC and two FAA BVLOS waivers,” said Paul Beard, founder and CTO of uAvionix. “It is the only C2CSP service designed to RTCA DO-377A and DO-362A standards for aviation, and enables us to fly without chase vehicles, visual observers, or requiring other nearby aircraft to have their own detect and avoid sensors on board. It is truly a brilliant piece of engineering and operations by the uAvionix team.”
uAvionix recently received FCC approval, coordinated with the FAA, to operate its airborne and ground radio stations on C-Band for command and control during BVLOS flights. Managed by the SkyLine cloud-based software service, the SkyLink airborne and SkyStation ground-based radios assured uninterrupted and optimized communication with the aircraft across the largely unimproved terrain of the CNO UAS test site which is similar to conditions often found by businesses performing utility inspections or long range medical and cargo delivery.
The C2CSP system for the Super Volo aircraft used in the flight included the uAvionix muLTELink5060 airborne radio and four SkyLink5060 ground radios deployed across the 44,500+ acre UAS test site. The SkyLine system continuously monitored each link between the ground stations and aircraft to optimally determine the best link for reliable command and control. When needed, the system proactively completed make-before-break connections to switch between available ground stations, while detect and avoid data from terrestrial sensors deployed in the UAS test range delivered situational awareness to the Remote Pilot in Command.
“The forethought, innovation, and technical knowledge of uAvionix are evident throughout this historic operation,” noted James Grimley, Executive Director for the Choctaw Nation Oklahoma Emerging Aviation Technologies Center. “Our purpose at the test site is to derive value for the CNO by enabling businesses to see and evaluate UAS technologies that will meet their operational needs for BVLOS flights. With uAvionix, we are able to demonstrate a complete system for C2 and DAA that is aviation-grade, approved by regulators, easy to deploy, doesn’t rely on third-party communication networks, and infinitely scalable.
Together we have created a technical and operational system that is the foundation for others to safely operate UAS for a variety of safety critical, long range and higher altitude missions that will deliver economic and cultural value in our communities.” (Source: UAS VISION)
31 Aug 23. Thales and Schiebel Successfully Conduct FAT for UK MOD’s Peregrine Programme.
Thales and Schiebel have announced the successful completion of the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Peregrine Programme. The FAT, a pivotal milestone in the programme’s development, marks an important step towards the final delivery of the cutting-edge CAMCOPTER S-100 UAS Peregrine System, the game changing rotary wing Uncrewed Air System (UAS) which aims to provide a protective ‘eye in the sky’ capability for Royal Navy warships.
During the testing phase, Thales and Schiebel showcased the Peregrine’s exceptional capabilities to the specified requirements. The results have been outstanding, highlighting the program’s steadfast adherence to schedule and the unwavering commitment of both companies to excellence.
With the FAT approval in place, the Peregrine Programme is now set to commence its first deliveries, ahead of schedule signifying an important advancement in strengthening the UK MOD’s operational capabilities. The innovative technologies incorporated into the CAMCOPTER S-100 such as the Thales I-Master radar are poised to elevate reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering missions to higher levels for the Royal Navy.
Moreover, in a parallel development, the Royal Navy is gearing up to commence their comprehensive operator and maintainer training on the Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100. This training will empower the Royal Navy personnel with increased UAS expertise, ensuring seamless integration and optimal utilisation of this state-of-the-art system.
“We are immensely proud of the successful Factory Acceptance Test and the progress achieved in the Peregrine Programme,” stated Hervé Hamy, Vice President ISR Business Line at Thales.“Our unwavering dedication to precision engineering and collaboration with Schiebel has resulted in a cutting-edge solution that will undoubtedly strengthen the UK MOD’s operational capabilities.”
We have achieved a significant milestone in the Peregrine Programme,” commented Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. “The S-100’s advanced features and proven performance ensure it will be a game-changer in the field of unmanned aerial systems, providing the Royal Navy with an invaluable asset.”
The joint effort between Thales and Schiebel, in conjunction with the UK MOD’s support, has led to this resounding success. The completion of the Factory Acceptance Test and impending training for the Royal Navy demonstrates our shared commitment to delivering exceptional and mission-critical solutions. (Source: UAS VISION/YouTube)
31 Aug 23. Dentons Publishes Second Edition of ‘Drone Laws Around the World.’ Now expanded to include 17 different regions, this second edition of Dentons’ ‘Drone Laws Around the World: a Comparative Global Guide to Drone Regulatory Laws’ provides detailed accounts and analysis of regulations that impact operations around the globe.
This second edition of the Guide includes analysis and comparison of the regulations, sanctions and liability, privacy and future regulatory and innovative developments for the following regions:
- EU Member states:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Drones are a disruptive technology that accelerate new approaches and opportunities in a variety of industries. Great strides have been made toward regulating autonomous and beyond the visual line of sight operations of drones. This new frontier of disruptive technology has generated many ingenious new solutions to old problems and promises more for those willing to embrace the technology.
The increasingly complex regulatory environment for drones makes for more difficult compliance obligations but also expands the opportunities for companies operating in this space. This second edition of the Guide focuses on practical applications and considerations in real estate, oil and gas, and in the counter-drone/security industries.
The 54-page guide can be accessed here: https://www.uasvision.com/2023/08/31/dentons-publishes-second-edition-of-drone-laws-around-the-world/ (Source: UAS VISION)
30 Aug 23. Shield AI Demonstrates AI-piloted, Teaming V-BATs with AFWERX; Transformational Capability to Be Fielded in 2024. Shield AI, a defense technology company building the world’s best AI pilot, today announced the successful completion of an autonomous teaming demonstration featuring three V-BAT Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This accomplishment was the final milestone of an AFWERX autonomy effort under their Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) program and collaboration with the AFRL Sensors Directorate.
This work with AFWERX sets Shield AI on a path to deploy V-BAT teaming capabilities in GPS- and- communications-denied environments in the next year.
Shield AI showcased its Hivemind AI pilot by launching a team of three V-BATs to monitor and surveil simulated wildfires. The multi-agent, coordinated team conducted Detect, Identify, Locate, and Report (DILR) missions in a contingency scenario with dual-use applications. This work with AFWERX sets Shield AI on a path to deploy V-BAT teaming capabilities in GPS- and- communications-denied environments in the next year.
“Intelligent, affordable mass that can see everything on the battlefield, execute the mission even when GPS and comms are denied or degraded, and put all our adversaries’ military assets at risk at all times is the holy grail of deterrence. This milestone brings us closer to achieving that reality,” said Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s President, Co-founder and former U.S. Navy SEAL. “We had many customers from across the DoD enterprise attend the event and my favorite customer quote was ‘Wait, you’re flying those three aircraft, doing the recon, and at the same time briefing us?!’ The customers genuinely appreciated that this isn’t merely talk, or just computer simulations, or a science project leading nowhere. This represents real autonomy on actual aircraft that, most importantly, will be deployed imminently.”
Hivemind can be trained for a variety of missions and its modular open systems architecture enables portability to other aircraft. It has flown quadcopters, V-BATs, and jet aircraft. Hivemind can be trained to undertake a broad range of missions, including integrated air defense breach, SCUD missile hunting, zone reconnaissance, counter-air, beyond-visual-range strike, maritime domain awareness, and communications-contested operations.
“Autonomy on V-BAT directly supports our autonomy efforts on uncrewed jet aircraft. Beyond our autonomy stack being leveraged across different aircraft, what sets this autonomy effort apart from others is that it was deployed on a program-of-record aircraft and will be a fielded capability next year. Many DoD-funded efforts, unfortunately, never reach the hands of a warfighter. However, Shield AI and AFWERX decided from the start that we would field this capability within the DoD. The great thing is all our DoD customers — the Army, the Navy, the Marines, SOCOM, and the Air Force — will benefit from this AFWERX effort. Autonomy is a joint capability,” said Ryan Tseng, CEO and Co-founder of Shield AI.
“What’s exciting to us is not just the capability that teaming V-BATs can bring to the table or how it’s on a great path for fielding with DoD partners, but how autonomy stacks can be leveraged across different aircraft and programs. The continual application of autonomy from small systems, now V-BAT, and onto larger platforms provides paths for industry progression and autonomy maturation. The criticality of autonomous capabilities for future programs of record within the DoD was the driver for this Shield AI – AFWERX effort,” said Col. Tom Meagher, AFWERX Prime Division Chief.
About Shield AI
Founded in 2015, Shield AI is a venture-backed defense technology company whose mission is to protect service members and civilians with intelligent systems. In pursuit of this mission, Shield AI is building the world’s best AI pilot. Its AI pilot, Hivemind, has flown a fighter jet (F-16), a vertical takeoff and landing drone (V-BAT), and a quadcopter (Nova). The company has offices in San Diego, Dallas, Washington DC and abroad. Shield AI’s products and people are currently in the field actively supporting operations with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies. For more information, visit www.shield.ai. Follow Shield AI on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Air Force Research Laboratory
Sole organization leading the planning and execution of U.S. Air Force & U.S. Space Force science & technology programs. Orchestrates a world-wide government, industry & academia coalition in the discovery, development & delivery of a wide range of revolutionary technology. Provides leading-edge warfighting capabilities keeping air, space and cyberspace forces the world’s best. Employs 10,800 military, civilian and contractor personnel at 17 research sites executing an annual $4B budget. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.
The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory brings cutting edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 215 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit: www.afwerx.com.
(Source: PR Newswire)
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.