Army partners with University of Illinois on autonomous drone swarm technology

0 Comments

Army researchers are working with the University of Illinois Chicago on unmanned technology for recharging drone swarms.

The university has been awarded a four-year, $8 million cooperative agreement “to develop foundational science in two critical propulsion and power technology areas for powering future families of unmanned aircraft systems,” according to a statement released by the Army Research Laboratory.

“This collaborative program will help small battery-powered drones autonomously return from military missions to unmanned ground vehicles for recharging,” the Army added. “The university is developing algorithms to enable route planning for multiple teams of small unmanned air and ground vehicles.”

ARMY DEVELOPING DRONES THAT CAN CHANGE SHAPE MID-FLIGHT

The military is looking to make the process of recharging vast drone swarms as efficiently as possible by using fast, recharging batteries and wireless power transfer technologies. This, researchers say, will let multiple drones to hover over an unmanned ground vehicle and recharge wirelessly.

Army researchers are working with the University of Illinois Chicago on the drone recharging system.

Army researchers are working with the University of Illinois Chicago on the drone recharging system.
(Courtesy University of Illinois Chicago)

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” said Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, in the statement. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

“Soldiers would need to carry a few thousand batteries on missions to facilitate this, which is logistically overwhelming and overall, not conducive to a leading expeditionary military operation,” Kweon added. “With this research project, we’re operationalizing scientific endeavors to increase Soldier readiness on the battlefields of

Agbioscience startup using multisensor drone technology sees growth

0 Comments

IMAGE

IMAGE: Despite changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup focused on research-grade sensing data for agriculture is growing as it takes multisensor drone data collection technology to…
view more 

Credit: Chris Adam/Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Despite changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup focused on research-grade sensing data for agriculture is growing as it takes multisensor drone data collection technology to market.

GRYFN, which offers precise geomatics solutions for coaligned and repeatable multisensor drone data collection, is adding members to its team, growing its space, and looking to empower the future of agriculture research.

The startup partnered with Purdue and received a $2.25 million sub-award grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. Eight Purdue professors founded GRYFN with backgrounds in aeronautic technology, biology, plant sciences, agricultural and biological engineering, civil engineering, and electrical and computer engineering.

The technology was originally developed under the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program, through a $6.6 million ARPA-E grant awarded in 2015.

“The pandemic forced us to change the way we train and onboard new clients, and we moved to a larger, more traditional office space at the Purdue Research Park to accommodate growth and a safer workplace,” said Trenton Lindenman, the chief operating officer at GRYFN. “These past several months have provided numerous opportunities for us to expand, adding team members, and evaluating new technologies to empower researchers and breeders.”

GRYFN is using technology developed at Purdue and licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The GRYFN approach uses an unmanned aerial vehicle platform with a coaligned sensor package – visible RGB, LiDAR and very near infrared hyperspectral – along with processing software to enable breeders to scale research

Top Early GoPro Action Camera & DJI Drone & Gimbal Deals Compared by Consumer Walk

0 Comments

Save on a range of DJI drone & GoPro action camera deals at the early Prime Day 2020 sale, including DJI Mavic, DJI Phantom, GoPro HERO9, GoPro HERO8, & GoPro HERO7 savings

Compare the latest early GoPro & DJI drone deals for Amazon Prime Day, including lightweight DJI Mavic drones, professional DJI Phantom drones, & GoPro action camera discounts. Links to the latest deals are listed below.

Best GoPro & action camera deals:

Best DJI & drone deals:

In need of some more GoPro action cameras & DJI drone deals? Click here to check out the full range of deals on the Amazon Prime Day sale page.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 deals are live for a restricted time period. Consumer Walk earns commissions from purchases made using the links provided.

Amazon holds their Prime Day sale every year. The popular shopping and entertainment event offers numerous deals for Prime members to enjoy across dozens of product categories.

Don’t have an Amazon Prime membership? Start your 30-day free trial by clicking here and unlock the entire Prime Day sale.

Shoppers can find a large number of deals on action cameras like the GoPro HERO9, and drones like the DJI Mavic during Prime Day.

Amazon has some amazing action camera deals for the daredevils out there. GoPro sits on top of the list when it comes to action cameras with state-of-the-art specs–from image stabilization to Ultra HD video. The latest model, the GoPro HERO9 Black even boasts 5K video recording and its mindblowing HyperSmooth 3.0 image stabilization.

If action cameras alone don’t cut it for you, Amazon also has great deals on drones. The newer DJI Mavic Air 2 is perfect for capturing stunning outdoor action. If you want to step it up even further, the pro-level DJI Phantom

Drone truck startup Einride unveils new driverless vehicles for autonomous freight hauling

0 Comments

Einride, the Swedish autonomous trucking startup, unveiled a new vehicle type that the company hopes to have on the road delivering freight starting in 2021. The vehicles, dubbed Autonomous Electric Transport (AET), came in four different variations. And much like Einride’s previous prototypes, they come without steering wheels, pedals, windshields, and, in general, no cab at all.

Einride has been in the business of releasing interesting, eye-catching prototype vehicles since it was founded in 2016. There was the cab-less T-Pod, released in 2017, four of which are operating on public roads hauling freight for Oatly, the Swedish food producer. A year later, the company unveiled the T-Log, built to be more powerful than its predecessor for the job of (you guessed it) hauling tons of giant tree logs. Now it has a next-generation vehicle that it hopes it can put into production.

Einride’s also been engaged with the less glamorous part of the job, which is testing, validating, and seeking regulatory approval for its vehicles, all of which are electric and can be controlled remotely by a human operator, in addition to operating autonomously without human intervention. The company has yet to reveal its plans for production and manufacturing.

Design-wise, the AET vehicles look almost identical to Einride’s Pod (previously T-Pod) prototype: sleek, white, cab-less pods with smooth lines and an otherworldly feel. Einride CEO Robert Falck said the AET is more aerodynamic than previous iterations, which will help when the company starts to scale up its manufacturing. “When you nail a design the first time, why reinvent the wheel?” Falck said.

The new AET vehicles come in four levels. The first two — AET 1 and AET 2 — have top speeds of 30 km/h (18 mph), weigh 26 tons, have payloads of 16 tons, and a battery range

The US Army wants to build an autonomous drone charging system

0 Comments

The US Army is looking to build an autonomous charging system that can support hundreds of drones. It has funded a four-year research project with the ultimate aim of kitting out ground-based vehicles with charging stations that swarms of drones can fly to by themselves. 

The University of Illinois Chicago landed an $8 million contract from the Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. Researchers will work on a system that will enable small drones to determine the location of the closest charging station, travel there and juice up before returning to their mission. The university is working on algorithms to help the drones determine the best route to a charging port. 

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the Army Research Laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, said in a press release. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

Without the charging stations, soldiers would need to carry thousands of batteries on missions, which really isn’t a viable option. Using an autonomous recharging system would also mean soldiers wouldn’t have to swap out batteries manually, freeing them up for other tasks.

Army-funded researchers will also develop mini fuel-level sensors for larger drones. This would allow future drones that could partially run on petrol to detect when they’re running low on fuel, according to DroneDJ. The devices could then return to base to refuel or recharge before they run out of juice.

“This research is critical not only for air vehicles