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4 • W I N T E R 2 0 1 2 • A U V S I • 2 7 0 0 S o u t h Q u i n c y S t r e e t , S u i t e 4 0 0 , A r l i n g t o n , VA 2 2 2 0 6 , U S A
Sensors show the way
Inside this issue:
MEMS go unmanned Localizing with lidar Talking to robots
Not the Same Old Briefs…
DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Commercial Applications for UGVs Precision Agriculture ACC Perspectives on UAS Ops UMVs in Offshore Oil & Gas UMVs & COLREGS
12–14 Feb . 2013
THE RITZ-CARLTON, TYSONS CORNER
M c LEAN, Va ., USA
“ A U V S I ’s U n m a n n e d S y s t e m s P ro g r a m R e v i e w c o n t i n u e s to be an invaluable forum for understanding the nuances of t h e d e f e n s e a n d c o m m e rc i a l a u t o n o m o u s ro b o t i c m a r k e t . ”
– Rob Hughes, Rockwell Collins
Speaker Lineup Includes…
• Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, Director of Operations, HQ ACC, U.S. Air Force • Mr. Steve Markofski, Corporate Planning, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A • Dr. Missy Cummings, Program Officer, AACUS, ONR, U.S. Navy • Dr. Robert Ambrose, Division Chief, Software, Robotics and Simulation, NASA
• Dr. Karlin Toner, • Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Director, Deputy Administrator JPDO, FAA and Acting Chief Scientist, NOAA
Ground Day Tuesday 12 Feb.
Maritime Day Thursday 14 Feb.
Air Day Wednesday 13 Feb.
. . .
W H E R E
B U S I N E S S
H A P P E N S
VOLUME 2 NO.4 • WINTER 2012
Tiny and everywhere
A look at the unmanned MEMS movement
News from the sensors market
John Marion, director of persistent surveillance at Logos Technologies
On the cover:
How a self-driving car sees the world. The circles recreate how a lidar would perform at 360-degree scan of the surroundings. The boxes are objects and the green path is a map of the road ahead. For more on lidar technology, see the feature on Page 16. AUVSI image.
State of the art
A look at the security cameras watching cities around the world
Pop culture corner
Sensor ideas imagined by “Star Trek” that became reality
The sensors paving the way for self-driving cars
35 Market report
Pivot to Asia drives new sensors
Lost in space?
How lidar ensures robots know more about their surroundings
39 Testing, Testing
Mesh networking: robots setting up communications ADS-B tests may help expedite UAS flights in public airspace
41 Technology gap
43 End users
IHMC’s tongue sensor fills in for human sight
Talking to robots
Researchers look for novel new ways to communicate with unmanned systems.
Mission Critical is published four times a year as an official publication of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Contents of the articles are the sole opinions of the authors and do not necessarily express the policies or opinion of the publisher, editor, AUVSI or any entity of the U.S. government. Materials may not be reproduced without written permission. All advertising will be subject to publisher’s approval and advertisers will agree to indemnify and relieve publisher of loss or claims resulting from advertising contents. Annual subscription and back issue/reprint requests may be addressed to AUVSI.
org • Winter 2012 3 . The company got its roots in the DARPA Grand Challenges. and former AUVSI editor. In an effort to shine the spotlight on this often looked over sector of robotics. Editor Brett Davis davis@auvsi.Editor’s message Editorial Vice President of Communications and Publications. we have many more departments that encompass many other aspects of sensing.org www. Suite 400 Arlington. Freelance writer. radar-like technology enables object detection within a centimeter of accuracy and could one day be featured on every car on the road. AUVSI dedicated this entire issue of Mission Critical to the topic. within five years. Computer giant IBM aims. VA 22206 USA +1 703 845 9671 info@auvsi. In addition to those features. like the possibly ubiquitous Automatic Dependent SurveillanceBroadcast system.org +1 571 255 7779 ensors don’t always get the credit that they deserve. I spoke with AUVSI member company Velodyne on its lidar. sensors are making their way into a multitude of smarter projects. He also explores how the company Xsens is proliferating these micro-sensors into unmanned technology. That story is on Page 8. which leverages many more senses than a simple satellite transmission. The sensors themselves are notable because of their tiny size. like photovoltaic cells for collecting solar energy that are the size of fleck of glitter. Leveraging Danielle Lucey this laser-based. Without them. editor of Mission Critical and Unmanned Systems magazine.org Managing Editor Danielle Lucey lucey@auvsi. tackles robotic communication. a sensor that can be placed on blind people’s tongues that relays visual information and a well-rounded market report — written by Teal Group’s David Rockwell — that explores where future hot spots in sensors will be. by helping them detect the many moving objects in their surroundings. to be able to relay textures. or microelectromechanical. Read more about that on Page 16. and now their product is featured on an endless list of large military ground vehicles.auvsi. which aids robots like the Google selfdriving cars. producing astonishingly small products. the quietest of sounds and even smell and taste over computers and wireless networks. We hope you enjoy it! Mission Critical A publication of President and CEO Michael Toscano Executive Vice President Gretchen West AUVSI Headquarters 2700 South Quincy Street. robots and unmanned systems would mostly be really expensive toys. Ramon Lopez tackled how MEMS. incapable of detecting and moving about their surroundings.org S Contributing Writers Ramon Lopez David Rockwell Advertising Senior Advertising and Marketing Manager Lisa Fick fick@auvsi. Look for that story on Page 29. This technology could smell disease before a person even thinks to visit a doctor or hear a mudslide days before it actually occurs. Brett Davis. Sensors of various types enable all the smart and sophisticated motions and learning that will one day make robotics as sophisticated as their human creators.
slicing it to 60 kilograms. head of marketing at Gill Sensors. Gill also had to cut down on the weight of the sensor. “Our design engineers relished the challenge when we first met UAV Factory at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems [North America] conference in Washington in 2011. “Key to the excellent performance and suitability of the Gill fuel sensor for this aviation application is the use of new microelectronics that offers a 50 percent space saving compared to standard electronics. so the company could not mount the sensor through the top of the tank. its supplier Gill Sensors played a part in ensuring the platform was able to make its historic flight. Longest UAS flight aided by sensor Although the company UAV Factory broke the longest recorded flight record for a small UAS. so it could accurately monitor the fuel left in its 7. a custom Gill Sensors fuel detector played a pivotal role. Photo courtesy UAV Factory. since the fuel tank had an irregular shape. as is custom. The sensor used an angled probe to take measurements of the tank depth. The task was challenging. 4 Mission Critical • and space was extremely limited.” says Mike Rees. Engineers at Gill created a unique sensor that could instead be mounted to the side of the tank’s wall.5-liter tank. and were able to utilize the proven microelectronic level sensor technology that is currently supplied by Gill into other specialist applications. such as For- Winter 2012 . Gill Sensors developed a fuel level sensor that enabled the Penguin B UAS to stay in the air for 54.” said the company in a press release. “We were delighted when we were told about this fantastic achievement by UAV Factory.Essential Components When Penguin B made its record-breaking endurance flight.5 hours.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense wants 3 billion yen ($37. covered in electrodes.” SCAN IT or Click IT: Infrared sensor to fill Japan security gap Japan is developing an unmanned aircraft outfitted with an infrared sensor after its existing sensor suite failed to pick up an attempted satellite launch by North Korea in April. Then that electric brain activity is transferred to a computer. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . so it can perform the thought.” says Abderrahmane Kheddar. A signal-processing unit takes what the user is thinking and then assigns different frequencies to icons on the screen.” says Joseph Paone. which is important in keeping commercial aircraft. to avoid near mid-air collisions. according to a November budget request. To see a video of CNRS’ work. “Basically we would like to create devices which would allow people to feel embodied.6 million) for a replacement of the ballistic missile defense system. Using these two items reduces the need for new infrastructure to integrate a sense-and-avoid system. The interface they are planning will use flashing symbols that will tell the robot how to move and interact with its environment.S.” Raytheon says it will continue this testing at other sites around the United States. “Basically what you see is how with one pattern … which is the ability to 5 Air Force. professor and director at the robotics lab. and we are proud to be a part. unmanned aerial systems and other hazards safely separated. have conducted concept evaluation demonstrations. They used a sense-and-avoid system based on the Airport Surveillance Radar Model-11 and a repurposed Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System for air traffic control. click or scan this barcode with your smartphone. A thinking man’s robot Researchers at CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory and CNRS-LIRMM Interactive Digital Human group are working on creating a robot that could be controlled entirely by thought. The pair recently completed the testing near Edwards Air Force Base at Gray Butte Airfield using a moving “dynamic protection zone. with initial deployment not scheduled until 2020 or 2021. It was a great achievement for UAV Factory. Then they instruct the robot which task is related to the icon. Air Force and Raytheon Co. operating over the Sea of Japan at around 44. which have RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 systems attached. “Our system properly notifies controllers and pilots of intrusions and accurately shows aircraft altitude. slotted for fiscal year 2013.Essential Components mula 1 race cars and military land vehicles.” The user wears a cap. “To do so we are trying to develop techniques from Brain Computer Interfaces so that we can read the people’s thoughts and then try to see how far we can go from interpreting brain waves signals. This zone creates a series of alerts sent to the UAS pilot as an object approaches his system. Japan is interpreting its failure to locate the North Korean launch. The existing system consists of land-based early warning radars and destroyers outfitted with Aegis. as a security gap. “Our solution provides the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense with a cost-effective and safe approach to handle the thousands of unmanned aerial systems that’ll be flying in our airspace in the next few years.000 feet. showing that existing air traffic equipment could be modified to include ground-based sense and avoid to track the presence of UAS. director of Air Traffic Management for Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems business. in the body of a humanoid robot. despite the fact that the satellite never reached very high in orbit before crashing. to transform them into actions to be done by the robot.” a collision avoidance alert system. Japan would like a prototype of the unmanned system by 2014. The UAV would have a long-endurance capability. Raytheon put sense and avoid to the test The U. according to an IHS Jane’s report.
” HRI-Japan says on its website. Image courtesy HRI-Japan. and tell where they are coming from. allowing the robot to recognize human voices as being distinct from other sounds. “Many ScanEagle customers already use Kestrel to provide an automated detection functionality and are very satisfied with the results. Australia-based Sentient to incorporate its Kestrel land and maritime software detection systems into Insitu’s unmanned aircraft.” says Simon Olsen.Essential Components — continued from Page 5 associate flickering things with actions. click or scan this barcode with your smartphone. for Hearing Robot. Insitu of Bingen. but this is not the case in robots and their systems. the user is capable of inducing which actions they would like with the robot. “We have the ability to consciously or unconsciously listen to what we want to hear when there is noise around (cocktail party effect). all sounds input are recognized as voices. not only human voices but music and sounds from a television set are also recognized as voices. 6 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . HEARBO could play rock-paper-scissors by listening to people’s voices and determine who won. the systems have a severe limitation. The Kestrel software is able to automatically detect moving targets on land or on the surface of the water.” HARK overcomes that limitation. has teamed with Melbourne.” The robot is named HEARBO. “Furthermore. “This agreement allows customers to benefit from the two technologies working together seamlessly to enhance airborne ISR missions. who spoke and from where in a room. or HARK. and then this is translated. … we associate actions with objects and then we bring this object to the attention of the user. Therefore. it took food orders from four people speaking at once and knew which person ordered which dish. Sentient’s head of sales and marketing. and the audio system is named HRI-Japan Audition for Robots with Kyoto University.” HEARBO can hear you now The Honda Research Institute-Japan has developed a robot that can differentiate between four sounds at once. expanding their capability.” HRIJapan says. we can record and visualize. in real time. Such a capability could one day lead to robots that are able to respond to various verbal commands. Integration is the name of the UAS game Two recent announcements showcase how unmanned systems companies are teaming to integrate new sensors and capabilities onto existing platforms. SCAN IT or Click IT: To see and hear HEARBO in action. In one experiment with the robot. including voices. “Then by focusing their intention. In general voice recognition systems. including the ScanEagle and Integrator. The university is a partner on the team developing the system. “By using HARK.” In one demonstration..” he says. Wash. or take minutes of a meeting with information on who spoke what by evolving this technology. “We may be able to pick up voices of a specific person in a crowded area.
senior product manager at Sweden’s Saab. increasing its performance. Saab’s Skeldar. even in misty or dusty conditions. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 7 . “Roke’s MRA will deliver the very high accuracy required in order to be a part of the avionics suite in Skeldar. This will effectively support Skeldar’s high autonomy during landing to maximize the safe conclusion of missions. now standard equipment on Saab’s Skeldar. “The MRA’s compact size and light weight also allows us to free up space on Skeldar and maximize payload.” says Jonas Carlsson. of the United Kingdom has worked with Saab to integrate its miniature radar altimeter into Saab’s Skeldar unmanned helicopter. Roke’s MRA Type 2 will be integrated into the Skeldar’s landing system to enable it to determine its height above ground.” Roke Manor’s miniature radar altimeter. Photo courtesy Roke Manor.Essential Components Saab integrates Roke altimeter onto Skeldar Roke Manor Research Ltd.
Vehicles with MEMS-based biometric sensors would keep tabs on driver’s pulse and breathing. as are MEMS-based stability control systems that activate during hydroplanes or skids. and MEMS gyros and accelerometers like those in Nintendo’s Wii controller have changed gaming forever. MEMS devices monitor air pressure in car tires. Already. Airbag crash sensors and side-impact airbags are lifesavers because of MEMS accelerometers. the shrunken sensors can be found throughout daily technologies. Winter 2012 and and everywhere Tiny and everywh By Ramon Lopez Tiny Tiny everywhere and everywhere Tiny everywhere Tiny and everywhere everyw and . and they have wrought a revolution for shrinking sensors that operate unmanned systems. Meanwhile. And smartphones speakers incorporate one or more MEMS microphones. a possible prelude to a heart attack or a fainting spell. automakers are stepping up efforts to see if a car can monitor driver stress or illness. Cars wouldn’t start if a drunk driver gets behind the wheel. The steering wheel would sense sweaty palms. and MEMS-based anti-rollover systems are becoming standard fit in automobiles. some autos have steering sensors that detect drowsy drivers. for instance. MEMS accelerators control auto parking brakes. MEMS accelerometers provide orientation for smartphones and image stabilization for digital 8 Mission Critical • M cameras. The driver’s vital health signs would be fed into a car’s safety system that would take action in an emergency. saving the operator from having an accident. Arrays of micromirrors. and auto GPS devices won’t work without their MEMSbased inertial navigation system. enabled digital film projectors. An acronym for microelectromechanical.Tiny and and verywhere Tiny and everywhere and Unmanned MEMS movement Tiny everywhere and everywhereTiny Tiny and everywhere: and Tiny and everywhere Tiny everywhere and EMS devices — tiny machines with moving parts — are everywhere these days.
respiration. The CryoWing is well suited for operations in extremely cold weather.Devices. and sports coaches could use it to measure whether athletes have reached their performance limits. making clinical test results of very little use. Digital health feedback systems use MEMS sensors the size of a grain of sand to detect medications and record when they were taken. people with medical conditions and ineligible for a driver’s license would get around with a virtual chauffer. The technology could also lead to self-driving cars that combine artificial intelligence software. The technology could lead to skin patches that monitor whether the wearer is sufficiently hydrated and other adhesive patches that monitor heartbeat. environmental monitoring (land and sea). Muscle tension changes with their stress level. electrodes register the change. The device can also support research into combat brain trauma. recently unveiled a new product: a sports skullcap that measures contact sport impacts that could cause severe concussions. Photo courtesy of Xsens. named CryoWing. Electrodes affixed to test subjects’ chests induce stress. The vest can also contribute to workplace safety. Researchers in Europe have developed a vest embedded with sensors that measure the wearer’s muscle tension and stress level. company that makes flexible electronics. At the core of the vest is wearable electronics consisting of sensors woven into the fabric that register the electrical excitation of the muscle fibers and thin conducting metallic fibers that pass the signals to an electronic analysis system. temperature and blood oxygenation. And one day. a global positioning system and an array of sensors to navigate through traffic.S. a startup U. electro-responsive fibers in sleepwear and soft electronics in pillows will monitor your blood pressure. which can be used for power line inspection. Taxicabs might shuttle fares without a driver. Though barely perceptible. The smart vest was developed for inconspicuous measuring during stress studies. The device is thought to incorporate accelerometers wired up with the firm’s stretchable electronics. such as seatbelt-based respiration sensors. aerial mapping and meteorological measurements. Xsens provides the CryoWing’s heading and attitude control. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 9 . sleep patterns and stress levels while you slumber. MC10. The skin patches can wirelessly transmit the Norway’s Northern Research Institute has developed an unmanned fixed-wing aircraft. are getting cheaper and smaller through the magic of MEMS.
Netherlands. Sandia National Laboratories scientists have developed tiny glitter-sized photovoltaic cells that could revolutionize the way solar energy is collected and used. and a U. and a company was born with launch of a measurement unit used for human motions and industrial applications. Since its inception in 2000. Clients include Sony Pictures Imagework. Saab Underwater Systems and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. as many of today’s applications require higher power levels.S. a sack carrying the load is suspended from the frame by vertically oriented springs. matching the properties of regular shoe fillings. subsidiary in Los Angeles. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania think along the same lines. Sagem. It incorporates a rigid frame pack. Energy harvesting is an attractive way to power MEMS sensors and locator devices such as GPS. The founders were interested in measuring the performance of athletes.MEMS — continued from Page 9 medical data to a smartphone. hardened arteries or blockages in the bloodstream may be helped by MEMSbased micromotors small enough to be injected into the human bloodstream. several thousands of motion sensors and motion capture solutions have successfully been Xsens MTi are used for navigation and control on SAAB’s multipurpose underwater vehicles. a surgeon’s view of a patient’s troubled artery can be enhanced and the ability to work remotely also increases the surgeon’s dexterity. The suspended-load backpack converts mechanical energy from walking into electricity. Researchers at Louisiana Tech University are taking a different tack regarding piezoelectricity. The cells are fabricated using MEMS techniques. Xsens is a leading innovator in 3-D motion tracking technology and products based upon MEMS inertial sensor technology. Founded in 2000. It is based on new voltage regulation circuits that efficiently convert a piezoelectric charge into usable voltage for charging batteries or for directly powering electronics. One day. power-harvesting technologies of- ten fall short in terms of output. Rather than being rigidly attached to the frame. 10 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . The tiny cells fastened to clothing could turn a person into a walking solar battery charger. The transducer can therefore replace a regular heel on shoes. They have developed a technology that harvests power from small generators embedded in the soles of shoes. MEMS goes unmanned Nowhere has MEMS penetration been more pronounced than the area of sensors and avionics for unmanned systems. the polymer-based generator is soft and robust. Siemens. The technology. This technology breakthrough uses a low-cost polymer transducer that has metalized surfaces for electric contact. Unlike conventional ceramic transducers. that catheters are unable to reach. Meanwhile. Surgery to treat strokes. for example. Remote-controlled miniature robots small enough to swim up arteries could save lives by reaching parts of the body. could power emergency locators for lost hikers or cell phones. Daimler. an inflatable balloon catheter equipped with sensors will snake through the heart to treat cardiac arrhythmias. like a stroke-damaged cranial artery. However. With the right sensors attached to the microbot motor. having developed a power-generating backpack. Australian researchers are harnessing piezoelectricity to power microbot motors just a quarter of a millimeter wide. Photo courtesy of Xsens. Xsens is a privately held company with headquarters in Enschede. It is this vertical movement of the backpack contents that provides the mechanical energy to drive a small generator mounted on the frame.
AHRS and INS that Xsens makes systems that keep telecommunications satellites and roving vehicles. We are in discussions with three other customers who are actively considering the MTi-G-700 GPS/INS for their target drones. Area-I’s PTERA provides a bridge between wind tunnel testing and manned flight by providing a low-risk. The housing-less MTi OEM is a small and ultra-light (11-gram) AHRS with the same functionality as the regular MTi. provides systems for the smaller unmanned aircraft. MTi-200 VRU and MTi-300 AHRS. He said his equipment is also on several robotic underwater vehicles. Marcel van Hak. estimating 3-D orientation based on the IMU sensor data. rehabilitation and sports science. The MTi-100 series can serve as a cost-effective replacement unit for high-grade IMUs. the MTi-20 VRU (Vertical Reference Unit) and the MTi-30 AHRS. whether air.5 inches in width and 1 inch in height. says van Hak. the unit is 15 to 20 percent lower in cost. low-cost platform to flight test high-risk technologies. Photo courtesy Xsens. snugly fits into a 4-inch cube. The AHRS adds filtering to that. The 200-pound aircraft has a 50-pound payload capacity. He said Xsens uses the same MEMS hardware used by the automotive industry. It is a market leader in MEMS inertial measurement units (IMUs). Xsen’s product manager for industrial applications. Xsens’ IMU consists of 3-D gyroscopes. but for a different application: stabilization and control of unmanned systems. says his product line wouldn’t exist if not for MEMS technology. attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS) and inertial navigation systems (INS). Using MEMS subcomponents allows Xsens to produce IMUs. The MTi 100-series includes the MTi100 IMU. “We are searching for additional customers. shrinking similar tracking performance in a significantly smaller package. Xsens offers an alternative average 2 inches in length. to bulky and heavy fiber optic IMUs and ring-laser gyros. for example. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 11 . He said the MTi-G-700 GPS/INS will work with other target drones and unmanned air systems. Photo courtesy Xsens. using GPS as a reference. An INS additionally uses the accelerometers to find velocity and position. The MTi-G-700 GPS/INS is now being used to navigate an unnamed European target drone. whether trucks or maritime vessels. The firm is aboard unmanned aerial systems made by Delft Dynamics and Area-I’s PTERA (Prototype Technology Evaluation Research Aircraft). He said half of the firm’s earnings come from that application. according to company officials. 1. replacing fiber optic gyros in test aircraft. A traditional IMU. produces a weight savings and provides more room for payload. 3-D accelerometers and a 3-D magnetometer. The unmanned aircraft operates with an Xsens MTi-G INS. The MTi-G-700 GPS/INS is the successor of the MTi-G introduced in 2007. says van Hak. Deliveries of the MTi-G-700 GPS/INS started in December 2012. and robot and camera stabilization. Xsens established that the unit can cope with very high accelerations during launch and cornering. such as smart seatbelts. maritime or ground vehicles. The MTi OEM is a board-only version of the Xsen MTi. The Dutch company’s current MTi product portfolio includes the MTi-10 IMU. connected.deployed in areas such as 3-D character animation. Xsens is able to offer high performance in a package that is tens of times smaller than the traditional IMUs and INS used for sonar and unmanned aircraft. weighing between 3 and 300 pounds. With similar performance to the fiber optic gyro it replaced. Xsens also applies the technology for camera systems or platform systems that need to be stabilized. making the end product more economically viable. Xsens. Xsens officials have found new uses for MEMS sensors initially designed for rollover detection and impact detection in cars and MEMS gyroscopes used in smartphones and game controllers.
That should significantly reduce their cost. such as the Continuous Positive Air Pressure device. camera pointing.MEMS — continued from Page 11 “We have integrated the Xsens MTiG AHRS sensor with a range of products designed for installation on land. and unmanned aerial and micro vehicle navigation and the 3DMGX3-35 AHRS with GPS. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found a way to manufacture them by stamping them on plastic film. It has the 3DMGX3-45 GPS/INS for vehicle tracking. MEMS pressure sensors are used in respiratory monitoring. augmented reality and pressure-based altimeters. Trends in manufacturing MEMS have revolutionized every market in which they play. Fla. 12 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . MEMS devices.-based Sparton with its AHRS-8 MEMS-based attitude heading reference system. The growing use of disposable medical devices and respiratory monitoring is due to MEMS technology. The most common medical pressure sensor is the disposable catheter to monitor blood pressure. but the trend for the still-nascent mini technology is just beginning. sea and air platforms. a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing. motion-controlled apps. medication and nutrients into a patient’s circulatory system. but it also opens up the possibility of large sheets of sensors that could. formance of the original GX3-25. used to treat sleep apnea. reliability and accuracy. more recently. especially motion sensors like accelerometers. Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman. Photo courtesy Xsens. including tactical and rotary wing aircraft. cover the wings of an airplane to gauge their structural integrity. low-cost MEMS pressure sensor is the infusion pump used to introduce fluids. so they could be used to make sensors with irregular shapes. heading and attitude. The printed devices are also flexible. have enabled an emerging market for facial recognition. and oxygen therapy machines. aircraft systems program manager at Argon ST. The Delft Biorobotics Lab’s FLAME robot is an active walker that uses the MTi for its stability. MEMS devices will proliferate as cheaper manufacturing techniques for the micro machines are developed. The product is based on Tronics’ long-standing expertise in high-end inertial sensors using MEMS-on-SOI and high-vacuum wafer-level packaging technologies. antenna pointing. The 3DM-GX3-15 is a miniature IMU that utilizes MEMS sensor technology and combines a triaxial accelerometer and a triaxial gyro to maintain the inertial per- Northrop Grumman supplies the fiber optic. Dallas-based Tronics has introduced a high-performance angular rate sensor (gyrometer) for demanding applications such as platform stabilization. “We value the Xsens MTi product line for its ease of integration. gyrocompassing LCR-100 AHRS for Embraer Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 aircraft. Analysts predict rapid growth for the types of MEMS now in widespread use and in the making. location-based services. MicroStrain is a Vermont business specializing in combining microsensors with embedded processors to autonomously track operational usage and to navigate and control unmanned systems. have changed consumer electronics forever and. Another type if disposable. Two other players in the field are De Leon Springs. Applications include unmanned vehicle navigation and robotic control.” Xsens is not alone in supplying MEMS-based sensors to the unmanned systems industry. say. The LCR-100 AHRS provides navigation information regarding the aircraft’s position.” says Paul Wynns. opening up the possibility of coating large areas with tiny sensors. MicroStrain also offers the 3DM-GX3-15 IMU and Vertical Gyro. along with its small size and rugged packaging.
sheets of cheap MEMS could also change the physical texture of the surfaces they’re applied to. Photolithography requires sophisticated facilities that can cost billions of dollars. The film is so thin that it should be able to register the pressure of sound waves. Ramon Lopez is an aviation. which is called photolithography: different layers of material are chemically deposited on a substrate — usually a wafer of some semiconducting material — and etched away to form functional patterns. arranging today’s MEMS into large arrays re- quires cutting them out and bonding them to some other surface. They’re also developing prototypes of some of the applications they envision for the technology. or modifying the reflective properties of a building’s walls or windows. Jane’s Defence Weekly and International Defense Review. if pressure is applied to the metal film. If the researchers pull the pad away fast enough. Once the transfer pad has been ripped away. Applying a voltage between the indium-tin-oxide coating and the film can cause it to bend downward. Varying the voltage would cause the film to vibrate. Next steps The researchers are working on better ways to bond the metal films to the plastic substrate. which is coated with the electrically conductive material indium tin oxide. Conventional MEMS are built through the same process used to manufacture computer chips. editor of AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems and Washington Correspondent for Flight International. and dramatically bending the film could turn a smooth surface into a rough one. The researchers use what they call a “transfer pad” to press a thin film of metal against the grooved plastic.And since the stamping process dispenses with the harsh chemicals and high temperatures ordinarily required for the fabrication of MEMS. the metal film is left spanning the grooves in the plastic like a bridge across a series of ravines. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 13 . altering the airflow over a plane’s wing. How they did it: The MIT process begins with a grooved sheet of a rubbery plastic. The system employs an Mti-G AHRS. Photo courtesy Xsens. so MEMS manufacturing has high initial capital costs. Similarly. Besides serving as sensors to gauge the structural integrity of aircraft and bridges. Australia’s EM Solutions was awarded a contract to develop a Mounted Battle Command Ka-band Satcom On-The-Move System by the Australian Defence Force. it could allow them to incorporate a wider range of materials. And since a semiconductor wafer is at most 12 inches across. Selectively bending different parts of the film would cause them to reflect light in different ways. the metal remains stuck to the plastic. aerospace and defense journalist who previously served as editor-in-chief of Air Safety Week. into the groove in the plastic: The film becomes an “actuator” — the moving part in a MEMS device. so that they don’t have to rely on tearing the transfer pad away quickly to get the film to stick. Between the metal film and the pad is a layer of organic molecules that weaken the metal’s adhesion to the pad. it will generate an electric signal that the researchers can detect. like the diaphragm of a loudspeaker.
. giving the warfighter greater situational awareness and the user the ability to monitor multiple areas or targets at one time. where the target is the Taliban. be it fixed wing. And we can compress the data by 1. They do this at medium resolution. much has stayed the same since the U. where or what sort of the bad things will happen. only the parts that matter. By using clues gleaned from the stored sensor data. he could fast forward to where the emplacer went after planting the IED. Q: Can you describe how intelligent persistent surveillance systems work? A: Many in the persistent surveillance field tend to focus on the platform. this becomes less of a problem. We can think of big data from a couple of different angles. For example. Others look at the sensors that go on those plat- Winter 2012 . Constant Hawk. Finally. cyber security and other areas. But as disks get cheaper and denser. suppose an IED was found by the side of the road — the sensor operator could use the stored sensor imagery to go back in time to discover when the IED was emplaced. we don’t intend to look at all the data. enough to track vehicles and people in real time. Va. remote sensing. And that’s both true in a 14 Mission Critical • Q: Has the military’s use of these systems changed in the years since they first became available? John Marion A: In terms of basic uses. What has improved is how we task assets. or in a local police scenario. we could eventually map out a whole network of individuals.000 times if we just represent the moving targets and don’t update the background map. rotary wing and lighter than air. right up to the group’s leadership. from one sensor. where the target is an urban drug smuggling operation.S. Q: What does persistent surveillance bring to the table. these systems provide over watch. He could then go even further back to find out where the emplacer came from. We collect all this data because we don’t know when. Army deployed the first wide-area persistent surveillance system. Wide-area persistent surveillance systems also give analysts a way of back-tracking events. wide-area persistent surveillance systems can provide video coverage of city-sized areas. we are now putting a strong emphasis on the automation and efficiency of analysis tools — a concept we call “intelligent persistent surveillance.” or IPS. on turboprop planes back in 2006. there is the storage issue. directed by clues from other sources. A: While standard full-motion video cameras only have a “soda straw” field of view. we can compress the imagery by 50 times.Q & A with John Marion Q&A John Marion is the director of the persistent surveillance division of Logos Technologies in Fairfax. Q: What is the best way to cope with the massive amounts of data such systems can provide? A: The issue of big data is usually framed the following way: “How can we possibly look at all this data?” That’s the wrong way to think about the problem. use persistent surveillance imagery with other intelligence sources and cross-cue different sensors. Then there is the data transfer issue. But by using novel compression techniques. both for military and civilian users? military setting. On the battlefield. which offers systems for the wide area surveillance. For example. But even as we collect imagery of a city-sized area. In addition.
and hyper-spectral area. a couple of years ago. IPS tools index data by transactions — geo-temporally tagging the starts and stops of all the targets within a field of view and then storing that information. wide-area persistent surveillance could be used for disaster relief. Q: Is there any commercial potential for such systems as well? A: There’s definitely a strong domestic market for them. This past March. Ariz. in Afghanistan and urban areas along the U. Still. like mapping the location of oil slicks in an offshore spill or counting polar bears over a large swath of Arctic wilderness. Q: Q: Assuming there is commercial potential. LEAPS performs all the processing. such as the perimeter area of a forward operating base. we demonstrated LEAPS on a manned A: I think it’s good that the UAS industry is thinking about the privacy issue. unmanned aircraft are best used when the target location changes frequently or where friendly forces don’t control the ground.S. airborne persistent surveillance systems just stay in the air longer. and within seven days. we can track illegal activity in both rural and urban areas.and aerostat-based wide-area persistent surveillance along the southern border. and their use will have to be governed by strict rules and regulations. if any. That means fewer analysts producing better products. Likewise. The demonstration was very successful. Our Kestrel system is mounted on an aerostat located at a FOB. IPS goes way beyond the platform. So. as you can see. Can you describe a couple of them? A: The platform choice really depends on the application. The system collects about 350 megapix- A: We have demonstrated both aircraft.forms. So it cannot pump persistent surveillance imagery down a tether to large computers on the ground Instead. I would point out that they are like any other police tool. aircraft for more dynamic border security operations. much faster. it provides ISR to ground forces on the move. they nabbed 100 suspects. the largest challenges are in IPS as we develop the tools to make sensor analysts faster. We can do this because we send the imagery data down through a fiberoptic cable in the aerostat tether. geo-registration. That’s why attention should be directed to IPS. while the processing can be performed on the ground with relatively large processing computers. Aerostats are great for surveilling fixed locations. analysts can quickly search recorded sensor data for targets at a specific location and over a specific time period. It gives the analysts a means of efficiently extracting the intelligence value from the available data. sensor and mere data collection. or do they make sense for smaller systems as well? You’ve said that such systems have homeland security applications. However. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 15 . With these systems. remain to be overcome for persistent surveillance? A: We will continue to improve the sensors — miniaturizing them and expanding beyond black and white imagery and into the to multi.. We also developed an IPS system for tactical. nonuniformity correction. The Customs and Border Protection agents found it easy to work with the wide-area persistent surveillance system. This is why we have developed intelligent persistent surveillance systems for both aerostats and unmanned aircraft. Q: What technological hurdles. in an 11-pound processor that shares a gimbal with the wide-area sensor. efficiently exploiting those intelligence sources. fixed-wing unmanned aerial systems. That’s the area that needs the most focus. When geo-temporal tagging is done across various intelligence sources. By contrast. els of day/night data per second in the air. public event security and environmental missions. We already have police helicopters. In the case of persistent surveillance systems used for law enforcement. more efficient and able to deliver better products. the Department of Homeland Security conducted a weeklong test of an aerostat system in Nogales. or FOB. Besides local law enforcement. Called LEAPS. etc. focusing on illegal border crossing and mapping networks of drug traffickers operating in the urban areas.-Mexico border. the real challenge with the new persistent surveillance systems is the data analysis. how can the issue of privacy best be handled? Q: Are aerostats the best platform for such systems.
By then. the Halls realized all the teams had a sensor gap they could fill. Most drivers might currently use a series of mirrors to determine their surroundings. though a steering control board failure ended their run prematurely. It makes the sensor of choice for Google’s self-driving car program. including the Google car. so they invented the HDL-64 lidar in 2005 and entered the second Grand Challenge with the sensor. “If you’re driving on the street and somebody passes you.” Velodyne Lidar’s sensors provide this capability on a lot of high-profile projects. the teams were gearing up for DARPA’s Urban Challenge event. which was shot using Velodyne’s lidar. the brothers sold their device to other competitors. Oshkosh’s TerraMax. And robotics has the answer for bringing that archaic notion into the 21st century.” says Wolfgang Juchmann. 16 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . or DAD. Lockheed Martin’s Squad Mission Support System and TORC Robotics’ Ground Unmanned Support System. you want to look backwards. where company founders David and Bruce Hall entered the competitions as Team Digital Audio Drive. to name a few. The brothers had previous robotics experience in competitions such as “BattleBots.lidar ensures robots know more about their surroundings By danielle lucey How Lost in space? W arning: Objects in your mirror are closer than they appear. the HDL-64E. SCAN IT or Click IT: Click or scan this barcode with your smartphone to see Radiohead’s “House of Cards” video. Instead of entering the competition themselves. They also were tapped by rock band Radiohead to create their Grammy-nominated “House of Cards” music video. including the top two teams. Stereovi- sion was not good enough for the task. “Essentially each time you look in your rearview mirror. lidar is proving a better substitute than a quick glance and a prayer. The video shows how many robots use the sensor to perceive their environment.” “Robotica” and “Robot Wars” in the beginning of the 2000s. By 2006. The company got its start as a spinoff of the DARPA Grand Challenges. but for many robots. you want to know if somebody comes from behind before you start a passing maneuver. the company started selling a more compact version of the sensor. product marketing manager at Velodyne Acoustic’s lidar division. Five out of the six teams that finished used their lidar. After the first Grand Challenge.
“The laser beam hits an object and the object reflects light back. especially to large cars trying to navigate their environment at fairly high speeds. to capture the distance data from each point. so there are 64 lines moving through the whole room. says Juchmann. it would mark faster returns on the lower-level stairs and longer returns as the steps ascend. This is useful for smaller vehicles. The measurement of a single vertical line in space is not very useful though. The time this takes tells us how far away the object is and the amount of light reflected back gives us an idea about the reflectivity of the object. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 17 . “This means you can see a wall with a resolution of 64 lines in a vertical field of view of about 26 degrees. It’s also less than half the price. Velodyne’s lidar has done a 360-degree scan of its surroundings four times. However.How lidar works Though the device proved a breakthrough in autonomous sensing technology. giving the user an idea of the varying distances.” Lidar works in a similar way to radar. What makes Velodyne’s product different than simple lidar technology. lidar can get in a centimeter’s range of accuracy in measuring an object’s location. can measure an object’s accuracy in the smaller. While much older methods. A human blink lasts about two-fifths of a second. “The lidar itself is a technology that’s been around for a long time. highdefinition lidar’s speed versus breaking out some tripods is no contest. Velodyne’s sweet spot is in the 100-meter radius range. we shoot 64 all on top of each other so if you look at the wall you’ll see a [vertical] line of dots. if the series of laser points were flashed toward a staircase. If you were shooting the lasers toward a flat wall. because the laser data would return almost simultaneously. However. “The amazing part is the amount of data that is measured in a very short time. Photo courtesy Google. millimeter range. lidar is not a new concept. This 10-times-per-second scan produces 1. Velodyne’s sensor also spins these 64 points. it has also released the HDL-32E. which uses the same concept but uses 32 laser points instead of 64. it would be a fairly easy measurement. though it ditches radio waves for laser beams. while radar excels at measuring faraway objects. In that time span. Because of the different nature of the two mediums. versus 15 kilograms for double the laser points. is that instead of using one laser to determine an object’s range. Velodyne measures them one after the other. explains Juchmann.” says Juchmann. “Instead of just shooting one laser to the wall.” says Juchmann. Velodyne’s lidar mounted atop Google’s self-driving Lexus.” he says. it uses 64. like surveying. in that it measures the time it takes for a signal to return to its point of origin. because Velodyne’s HDL-32E lidar weighs 1 kilogram. lidar overall has a better angular resolution. This is a huge factor when people want to mount their lidar on something lighter.” Instead of measuring the time-todistance correlation of this series of dots at the same time.3 million data points per second. explains Juchmann. At this speed. says Juchmann. After the success of the company’s HDL-64E. in a series.
Not all of the technological aspects of lidar have been overcome. Another big market that uses lidar is mobile mapping. a bicyclist is coming up behind the car that is about to turn. companies integrate Velodyne’s lidar data with GPS and IMU data to determine how their robots should move. by low-visibility situations. you have more rain than picture. for instance. but if it’s heavy snowfall” the reflections will outweigh the actual picture. AAI Textron uses Velodyne’s lidar on its Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle. but also were you are. explains Juchmann.” The IMU compensates for movements and angles that inherently occur when the sensor is moved in real life. but only once in a while you have the full picture. says Juchmann. which could use lidar to monitor military perimeters and border fences. many fences are monitored with cameras. “If you have a robot or a self-driving car that moves around.” says Juchmann. To make all this data useful. and computer algorithms can figure out the once-in-a-while reflection. give state transportation departments information on the conditions of bridges and roads. Right now. really heavy.” says Juchmann. The Google self-driving car. “If you have a little bit of that it’s all fine. 18 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . using cameras and other sensors. to determine if there are intruders in the immediate vicinity and for collision avoidance. but if the rain is heavy enough it might view a downpour as an object. is the software each company creates that analyzes it all. using lidar integrated with other data and sensors. Right now. “Typically you have to feed in GPS information so you know where you actually are. The accurate mapping provides an idea of roadwork and maintenance that needs to be done. which at their best have around 130-degree fields of view. for example. integrates this data with its Google Maps product so the robot will know the long-range terrain data and also can detect if. “You still see a picture. If the rain becomes really. the same way human eyes are. the laser beam can detect drops of rain. Velodyne is addressing the security and surveillance market. Transportation department contractors put the sensors on manned vehicles and. Juchmann likens it to watching an antenna TV with some white noise.Lidar — continued from Page 17 How the Google car sees the path and obstacles ahead. With our sensor you can integrate and synchronize GPS information in order to determine not only the range. Other applications Lidar has a lot of applications outside robotics. Lidar sensors are affected. though.” The same is true for fog and snowfall. The key to all this data. Photo courtesy Google. For instance. it’s important to see what’s around it. “The vehicle needs to know where exactly it is.
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Lidar — continued from Page 18 Aside from Google. says Juchmann. He points to satellite radio. 20 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . to image the maritime landscape. The first thing all the car designers say is. and the only way that’s physically going to work is to have an antenna on the outside. which uses its own computers. Danielle Lucey is managing editor of Mission Critical. “People don’t want to have that thing on the top [of their car]. “There’s no way in hell this thing is going to be on top of the car. Photo courtesy Textron. the cost needs to come down and the sensors have to get smaller. AAI/Textron’s CUSV uses a Velodyne lidar. in traditional cars these old systems can be a bottleneck to how we actually use all this data. which originally required large antennas. Juchmann says nearly every single major car manufacturer in the world uses one or two of the company’s lidar to test out some of the other sensors that have made their way onto cars in the last 10 years. however.” he says. “Let’s come up with a design that doesn’t look really bad. Juchmann predicts.” he says. Auto companies will compare the results of the lidar with its backup warning signals.” While this isn’t a problem for Google. That’s the future we need. so how this final challenge plays out is still a question. so they came up with the shark fin design. For this to happen. many cars still rely on outdated computing technology that “isn’t adequate for modern sensor technology anymore. Also. the small sensor at the very top of the vessel. though. but similar problems have been solved in the past. “The next big step is to get integrated into the large volume products. lane keeping and blindspot detection to measure their accuracy. “But at some point somebody made the decision that we’re going to have satellite radio inside the car.” The small fin is now on the back of most cars with satellite radio.” And there is one more big hurdle. that the auto industry will be the big boon for lidar once they are adopted on every vehicle.” No one has come up with an answer for that yet. The best spot for lidar remains at the top of a vehicle. and that’s where the balance between form and function needs to be found.” says Juchmann.
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000 cameras in Buenos Aires (2011.000 cameras in Chicago (2005.775 cameras in Washington. New York Civil Liberties Union) 17.468 cameras in Manhattan (2005. Los Angeles Times) 378 publicly owned security cameras in Rio de Janiero (2011.C. D. Study: “Cameras in Context: A Comparison of the Place of Video Surveillance in Japan and Brazil”) 2.com) 22 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . InfoSurHoy.Smile! Surveillance cameras by city STATE OF THE ART 4.000 cameras in Mexico City (2011.com) 4. VinTechnology. (2008. Los Angeles Times) 13.
While it’s difficult to get authoritative numbers.uk) 300 cameras in Paris. France 24) 400. 422. China (2012. many surveillance cameras are eyeing the residents of major cities mere feet from street level. VinTechnology.000 cameras in London (2012.com) 2.000-foot view of areas of interest around the globe. Beijing Daily) 500. CCTV.100 more (2012. Book: “Rainbow Tenement: Crime and Policing in Inner Johannesburg) Mission Critical • Winter 2012 23 . Daily Telegraph) 184 cameras in Johannesburg central policing district (2003.co. plans to install more than 1.000 cameras in Chongqing.200 cameras in Sydney (2009. here is a compilation of what the Mission Critical staff could find.W hile UAS are known for their 60.000 cameras in Beijing (2011.
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and the team used the son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry to promote it. While this. Various researchers have built something resembling the Tricorder.” Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry Jr. a doodad about the size of a tape recorder (now an obsolete piece of equipment) that could scan a surrounding area and analyze it. which could “beam” anybody most anywhere. said in a press release. sadly. Another nifty device was the Tricorder. Martin Cooper. The prize is a collaboration with Qualcomm Inc. Eventually. “What we are thinking about is not necessarily cloaking the whole warplane but some hot spots. but if you’d like to try your hand at it. Like the Tricorder. a flip-top walkie-talkie that was truly revolutionary in the late 1960s. this is one area where science has yet to catch up. a raygun that could be set to stun or kill.” “Star Trek” also had the Phaser. “It’s great to see two amazing organizations … bring the technology of ‘Star Trek’ to life and make the Tricorder a reality for people everywhere. too. which is essentially what the Romulans used it for. including a medical version that could diagnose illnesses. so to speak. In the mid1970s he had finished his work on the Taser. such an invention has also proven to be a bridge too far. The field of “spooky science” has also tackled another “Star Trek” technology. in most ways — the “Star Trek” communicators could operate over vast distances and rarely seemed to drop calls. such an application could be useful to warplanes. where particles. which could render an entire space- Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . being able to flip open a little box to talk was miraculous. however. In the intervening decades. when most homes had party-line rotary phones. the other changes to match. Alas. writer Dianne Finch reported on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. can be linked over great distances. too. In the November issue of AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems magazine. phasers and other ideas that came true POP CULTURE CORNER ship invisible (“Harry Potter” has since borrowed the idea on a smaller level). some funded by government agencies. At the time. Scientists at the University of Texas in Austin recently revealed that they had cloaked a cylinder from the microwave part of the energy spectrum. the scientists could still see it. so he helped create it. although. If you change the state of one. the field of metamaterials is taking a look at it. While the original cell phones of the early 1980s were clunky beasts that barely made phone calls. has not yet come to pass.From ‘Star Trek’ to your house: Communicators. which had only one setting. 25 T hey had some cool stuff in the TV show “Star Trek” … even in the original show. they have morphed into designs that would make Capt.. such as photons. has cited the “Star Trek” communicator as his inspiration. and envied the freedom he saw on TV. Well. a $10 million competition to develop a mobile solution that could diagnose patients better than a panel of boardcertified physicians. Kirk quite envious. While this has given rise to technologies that may be able to use this effect. by altering the path of light as it moves through special materials. the only existing technology was the regular gun. In 1969 — right about the time the original “Star Trek” series was canceled — a NASA employee named Jack Cover began working on a stun gun that used small tethered darts to disable opponents. the teleporter remains well out of reach — for now. though not for lack of trying. He hated talking on wired devices. Various versions appeared on the TV show and its offspring. such as quantum computers. Numerous universities around the world are working on it. although here. where the sets were sometimes cardboard and the aliens looked a lot like humans wearing body paint. who created the first personal cell phone while working at Motorola. “Star Trek” also had the very futuristic transporters. one of the researchers said in the “New Journal of Physics. a part such as the tailplane that you would want to cloak because it reflects most of the energy” from microwaves. Back then. the X Prize Foundation this year kicked off the Tricorder X Prize. the Romulan cloaking device. One memorable piece of equipment was the communicator. science is giving it whirl. it has become much less so.
where ultrasonic sensors on a rear bumper and audible warnings work together to allow drivers to get a sense of how close an object is to the back of their car. instead of applying the brakes. 1996 In 1996. 1971 Though the technology was originally developed for aircraft Antilock braking system in 1929. the car would simply throttle down to a lower speed.” where electronics would play a role in controlling a car — an industry first. with little difference in response times by age group. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Backup warning signals tested backup warning signals. Through these systems. the average driver is able to stop a vehicle from hitting an object in 1.5 seconds. Toyota added braking control to its radar-based cruise control system in 2000. however. Antilock Braking Systems got their automotive debut in 1971 through a technology called Sure Brake on that year’s Chrysler Imperial. One of the two patents filed describes “digital memory.Driving factors 1968 Automotive Electronic Cruise Control was invented in Electronic cruise control TIMELINE 1968 by an engineer for RCA’s Industrial and Automotive Systems Division. which Google’s fleet of self-driving cars rely on for mapping. This move paved the way for in-car navigation devices. 1998 Though GPS existed long before GPS 1998 in military technology. 26 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . President Bill Clinton signed a law requiring the military to stop scrambling the systems of civilian GPS signals. so the general public could benefit from the technology. 1995 The Mitsubishi Diamante was the first to use laser-based Adaptive cruise control adaptive cruise control.
and Europe got the technology in 2005. The first car available stateside didn’t debut until 2004. 2004 Pan-European Advanced front-lighting system research and development firm EUREKA worked to develop front-lighting systems. however it was mechanical instead of automated. 2003 Lexus and Toyota introduced the world to the Intelligence Parking Assist System.” allowing the car to park on its own. which use sensors to automatically make the headlines of a car work directionally. The technology will work in traffic flowing at less than 30 mph. 2001 Nissan was the first company to offer a lane-keeping system on Lane keeping its Cima. Here’s a look at some of the formative sensor suites that have enabled more autonomy in our automobiles. high-congestion situations.A lthough Google and auto manufacturers have made a lot of inroads into self-driving cars. V70 and S60 models. technologies like lidar and Google Maps rest on the shoulders of a lot of sensor work that’s been going on under the hood for decades. Parking assist which uses a rear-facing camera to guide a car into a spot and also helps avoid objects. which Blind spot detection used a camera-based system to keep an eye on the area alongside and near the rear of its XC70. Volvo introduced its Blind Spot Information System. the driver would determine the parameters of the spot and press “Set. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 27 . The system has a series of arrows that help the driver tell how he is aligned in a space. which it sold in Japan. 2005 In 2005. The system debuted in the United States in 2006. The system uses warning lights to inform the driver when another vehicle enters this area. Using these arrows. allowing drivers to keep their hands off the wheel in low-speed. 2014 Volvo recently announced that its traffic jam assist Traffic jam assist feature would be ready by 2014. This around-the-corner lighting system was actually featured on cars dating back to the late 1920s.
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A computer could. on new ways to talk to robots. Research continues. R live and work. IBM has been releasing a list of five technologies its researchers think have the potential to change the way people Mission Critical • Winter 2012 29 .” such as monitoring mountainsides in Brazil for audible signs that a mudslide is imminent. however. who lost his hearing at age three. computers won’t just be able to look at images. “You’ll be able to share the texture of a basket woven by a woman in a remote village halfway across the globe. “It can hear that a flood is coming.Researchers look for novel. says in another video that in five years computers will be able to hear “what matters. In five years. “This is an example Five in five For the past seven years. most of the 2013 technologies singled out could lead to a revolution in the way people interact with unmanned systems of all kinds.” The second is sight. The first is touch: In the next five years. IBM posits. While not specific to robotics.” Kanevsky says. “The device becomes just as intuitive as we understand touch in any other form today. an IBM master inventor. for example. new ways to communicate with unmanned systems By Brett Davis Researchers and end users are constantly seeking new ways to communicate with robots and unmanned systems. but that poses tough challenges on engineers and programmers.” says IBM Retail Industry Expert Robyn Schwartz in a company video. possibly diagnosing cancer before physical problems result. you’ll be able to touch through a phone. One goal is to make such interactions as easy and intuitive as interaction with other humans. This could be a boon for the emerging market of medical robotics. scan photos of skin melanomas taken on patients over time. Dmitri Kanevsky. but can understand them.
” Another sense coming to computers is smell. at Virginia’s Fort Pickett. giving it roughly the same capability to follow a soldier as an animal and handler would do. “This was the first time DARPA and MCWL [the Marine Corps Wafighting Lab] were able to get LS3 out on the testing grounds together to simu- The LS3 goes through its paces at Virginia’s Fort Pickett. “These five predictions show how cognitive technologies can improve our lives. according to the IBM researchers. IBM’s chief innovation officer. “And what if you enabled it to draw inferences from the evidence that it observes. he says.” says Hendrik Hamann. The machines will be more rational and analytic. empathy. literally. and they’re windows into a much bigger landscape — the coming era of cognitive systems.” Verbal commands DARPA has been working for years with the Legged Squad Support System. he cites a track-inspecting robot doing its work inside a train tunnel. 30 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . “But what if you enabled it to sense things more like humans do — not just vision from the video camera but the ability to detect the rumble of the train and the whoosh of air?” he asks on the IBM website. A current robot could evaluate track but wouldn’t understand a train barreling down that same track. Photo courtesy DARPA. or LS3. hears and feels? That would be one smart computer — a machine that would be able to get out of the way before the train smashed into it. moral compass and creativity. the defense research agency demonstrated how a ground robot could obey verbal commands. where it followed a human soldier and obeyed voice commands.” says Bernard Myerson. helping create healthier diets and even developing unusual pairings of food to help humans eat smarter.Talking to Robots — continued from Page 29 of how hearing sensors can help to prevent catastrophes. the LS3 was put through its paces. We’ll provide the judgment. who adds that “your phone might know that you have a cold before you do. As an example. the follow-on to the legendary Big Dog robotic mule. and then communicating with a doctor. will be one of the techniques which will promise to reduce costs in the healthcare sector.” In the era of cognitive systems. In a new video. In December. This could lead to sensors in the home that literally can smell disease and then communicate that to a doctor. “humans and machines will collaborate to produce better results — each bringing their own superior skills to the partnership. a research manager of physical analytics. “Smelling diseases remotely.” IBM further predicts that computers will be able to detect how food tastes.
February 14 2013 Ritz Carlton McLean. February 12 through THURSDAY. air and maritime programs auvsi. VA. Va 2013 Mark your calendar TUESDAY. USA Start your year at the unmanned systems industry’s premier event. . W h e r e Air Wednesday 13 February B u s i n e s s Maritime Thursday 14 February h a p p e n s 12–14 February 2013 • McLean.Ground Tuesday 12 February . .org/uspr . featuring updates on the latest ground.
Talking to Robots — continued from Page 30 32 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 .
Joseph Hitt. Carnegie Mellon. DARPA program manager. according to DARPA. The December testing was the first in a series of demonstrations planned to continue through the first half of 2014. demonstrating. how voice commands and follow-the-leader capability would enhance the robot’s ability to interact with warfighters. We were able to put the robot through difficult natural terrain and test its ability to right itself with minimal interaction from humans.late military-relevant training conditions. “The robot’s performance in the field expanded on our expectations. the LS3 turns itself on after a voice command. as service robots take on a greater role in everyday life.. An IBM chart showing how computers could understand photographs in the next five years. says in a DARPA press release.” In a DARPA video. Social interactions Interacting with robots in a social manner could become more important in the future. and then begins following the human leader.” DARPA says. AAI Corp. Col. for example. semiautonomous legged robot can carry 400 pounds of a squad’s equipment. LS3 is being developed by Boston Dynamics. the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Woodward HRT. “The LS3 program seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile. leading a team that includes Bell Helicopter. follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way similar to a trained animal with its handler.” Lt. Mission Critical • Winter 2012 33 .
A team led by Shwetak Patel of the University of Washington. Army and Duke University. Brett Davis is editor of Mission Critical. Such applications are already in use for streaming high-definition television and music and even providing highspeed Internet service using existing wall plugs. or SNUPI. and Eakta Jain of Texas Instruments. the researchers could determine if they were listening to a single speaker. including the battery and antenna.D.S. multistory buildings. particularly in modern. dramatically boosting their transmission range. who was awarded a Ph. “This really is just a first step toward analyzing the social signals of people. because the answer identifies something of interest or helps delineate social groupings. The institute developed a method for detecting where people’s gazes intersect.D. Even if they don’t become ubiquitous. interacting as a group or even following the bouncing ball in a pingpong game. SNUPI features a low-power microcontroller that can provide coverage for an entire building while consuming less than one megawatt of power. The downside for current power line systems is that users on both ends of such a connection have to be plugged into a wall.4 centimeters and weighs only 17 grams. A soldier could be on the bottom floor of a building. Army. by using head-mounted cameras.8-by-3. or even outside it. as worn by soldiers. where communications can drop off fast. the concept is called Sensor Nodes Utilizing Power line Infrastructure. and use a single base station connected to the system to control and communicate with a robot exploring the upper floors. Tapping the phones Ground robots have sometimes been plagued by issues of bandwidth and range. police officers and searchand-rescue officials. not just their physical environment.” the university’s Robotics Institute says. AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America 2012. in robotics last spring. The concept is based on the idea of power line networking.” says Hyun Soo Park. robots will need to interact organically with people and to do so they must understand their social environment. are becoming more common. student in mechanical engineering. “The power line’s ability to receive wireless signals is a well-known phenomenon. “By noting where their gazes converged in three-dimensional space.8-by-1. These problems are especially problematic in urban areas. Head-mounted cameras. but only recently has it been exploited for in-building communication.Talking to Robots — continued from Page 33 Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have been working on what seems like a simple problem: how to let a robot tell where people are looking. assistant research professor of robotics.S. The algorithm used for determining “social saliency” could be used to evaluate various kinds of social cues. not a viable concept for a moving. nonline-of-sight communications. a Ph. which included the U. University of Washington and Duke University has demonstrated one way to help expand the communications bandwidth of ground robots inside buildings. “It’s a common question in social settings. lightweight sensor nodes that contain antennas that can connect wirelessly to a power line infrastructure. who worked on the project with Yaser Sheikh. stair-climbing robot. According to the paper presented at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America 2012. by using the existing electrical systems to create a “super antenna” to achieve wireless.” Park said in a university press release. have developed a concept that takes the power line idea and makes it mobile. “In the future. they could still be worn in the future by people who work in cooperative teams with robots. or using the bandwidth in electrical connections to send information as well.” says a paper presented by the Army’s David Knichel at 34 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 .” the institute says. SNUPI uses tiny. including peoples’ facial expressions or body movements. The initial prototype of the system is just 3. A research team from the U.
where dominant ISR at all levels from tactical to strategic has prevented a grueling bloodbath like Vietnam. and Teal Group expects continuing orders beyond current plans. electronics upgrades and funding increases.S. the West’s new paradigm will not be arming against an adjacent land threat with thousands of tanks and fighters. Just as in the geographical pivot after the Cold War. Rockwell R etention of the current administration in the U. In mid-2012. manufacturers once the pivot is well underway. but with hundreds of Air Force Predators and Reapers already in service. as well as to grueling attrition battles like Afghanistan. The new version adds two fuel pods and a lengthened 27-meter wingspan. Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman. Production has now ramped up for the U. but a potential threat with limited power projection capability. and European services an unforgettable lesson — scout with your unmanned aircraft. rising from $754 million in fiscal year 2013 to $1.Pivot to Asia to drive new sensors MARKET REPORT By David L. where Europe’s painful intelligence. Tomorrow’s need for improved capability with decreased spending will lead to new UAS sensors. leaves Afghanistan.S. will mean some consistency regarding defense spending. allowing a claimed 42-hour maximum NATO expects to spend 2 billion euros over the next two decades to operate its five AGS Global Hawks. even while manned shooter fleets shrink and nonsensor upgrades. but with a slow decrease in funding over the next few years as current systems and programs wind down. are put on hold.S. and Block 30 Global Hawk production likely to end soon even if current air vehicles are not retired. This applies to no-boots-on-the-ground conflicts such as Libya. Instead. With the Air Force already beginning to wonder what it is going to do with all those non-stealthy but not expendable Predator and Reaper orbits once the U. and development and production of increasingly sophisticated sensors for smaller tactical and mini/ micro-UAS will continue.2 billion in fiscal year 2021.S. but if there is any segment of the UAS sensor market likely to suffer losses in the near term. the vultures are already circling. the already-ubiquitous gimbaled EO/IR sensor ball is it. endurance UAS electro-optics spending will shrink in the near term. A decade of war has taught U. General Atomics offered its new extended range Predator B as an alternative to Global Hawk. New technologies like wide field-of-view (WFOV) and hyperspectral imaging systems have a strong future. Northrop Grumman coldcalled Canada to offer three Block 30 “Polar Hawks” for Arctic surveillance. such as new engines for manned JSTARS aircraft. requiring monitoring — ISR — rather than bulked up defensive lines on the Rhine. President Barack Obama’s pivot to Asia will require new sensor capabilities much more than new striker platforms. Army Gray Eagle. In mid-2012. Electro-optical/infrared Teal Group Corp. Navy). forecasts substantial growth in UAS EO/IR system funding available to U.S. but there are few big opportunities out there (except the U. surveillance and reconnaissance inadequacies finally inspired NATO’s $1. interest is moving to nextgeneration systems and sensors.7 billion Alliance Ground Surveillance buy. 35 .S. not with your soldiers.
But the Air Force also decided it did not have the money for a new manned program and would keep JSTARS flying indefinitely. with more buys likely and transition to Global Hawk or Avenger possible. But all these programs are big future possibilities with little production planned for the next few years. the USAF completed an analysis of alternatives for its next-generation SAR/Ground Moving Target Indicator fleet.616 708 1.160 Total 213 243 3.S.070 FY20 10 29 345 120 91 150 201 130 1.123 FY22 16 28 334 126 112 168 222 154 1.000 feet offer neither the safety nor discretion of a Global Hawk at 60. with autonomous scanning for its EO/IR payload. And General Atomics has suggested an internal WFOV sensor for Avenger. especially for a pivot to Asia. In mid-2012. to be delivered by the end of 2014. But nonstealthy UAS at 45. it is also a whole new ballgame. In February 2012. Synthetic aperture radars In January 2012. the fastest growth will be seen in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and electronic warfare systems. the Air Force acquired one BAE Systems SPIRITT hyperspectral system for the U-2. business jet-based ISR aircraft.049 777 883 1.219 1.244 1. In 2012 the Army also evolved plans for a widearea surveillance capability for Gray Eagle. Instead. Regarding sensors. In May 2012.Market Report — continued from Page 35 Electro-optic/infrared Global Hawk BAMS Predator/Warrior UCAV Tactical Mini/Nano Other U. versus Global Hawk’s 30-36 hours.506 36 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . The Air Force has bought one.805 882 1.085 FY22 148 108 92 210 128 168 74 98 1. NATO finally signed a $1.076 FY21 14 26 330 118 101 170 220 144 1.125 FY20 355 98 97 190 102 144 58 75 1. and while fleet numbers are not certain — Teal Group’s best guess is 19 for the Air Force — expect MP-RTIP to remain the world’s most important SAR for decades.000. for the Navy’s stealthy UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Strike and Surveillance) development program. General Atomics flew its second Avenger.248 endurance at 45. General Atomics has also considered developing a carrier-borne Avenger. In January 2012. MPRTIP testing is to continue through 2013. a follow-on to the SYERS sensor on the U-2.010 FY19 367 110 110 194 88 134 60 62 1. Instead.7 billion contract for five MP-RTIP Global Hawks for AGS.000 feet.119 FY21 246 102 99 198 126 158 66 90 1. the Predator C Avenger offers a much better future for near-peer UAV ISR.629 1.026 Total 2. calling for a mix of Block 40 Global Hawks with the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar and a manned.235 9. The first air Synthetic aperture radars Global Hawk MP-RTIP BAMS MFAS Lynx/Starlite Other endurance UCAV Tactical UAV Mini/Micro/Nano-UAV Available international Total FY13 135 42 160 100 26 75 10 44 592 FY14 214 72 137 123 36 81 22 50 735 FY15 270 78 142 142 34 76 28 54 824 FY16 367 90 148 143 40 96 32 56 972 FY17 377 84 139 156 60 108 36 58 1.174 430 647 9.018 FY18 326 98 120 160 68 134 44 60 1. to evaluate its performance characteristics. with folding wings and a tail hook. the Avenger was in testing with a Goodrich MS-177 multispectral EO targeting system. Available International Total FY13 97 10 259 28 77 80 108 95 754 FY14 12 23 280 40 81 78 112 106 732 FY15 8 21 246 32 81 97 130 108 723 FY16 10 25 280 38 68 112 134 100 767 FY17 12 23 310 52 90 114 144 122 867 FY18 16 30 330 100 90 120 170 120 976 FY19 18 28 335 123 92 130 188 156 1.
the biggest SAR wild card may be the Navy’s Global Hawk Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. With Boeing’s 737-based manned P-8A Poseidon (and P-8I for India) ISR maritime patrol aircraft now ramping up a large production run to replace P-3C Orions. As AGS plans and JSTARS history shows. the Army awarded Northrop Grumman a contract option for an additional 44 Starlite SARs for Gray Eagle.870 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 37 . Teal Group sees considerable scope for a reduced BAMS buy. In mid-2012. Teal Group forecasts the UAS SAR market will grow from $592 million in fiscal year 2013 to $1 billion in FY22. ASIP is tied to the endangered Block 30 Global Hawk. Teal Group sees BAMS as a top sequestration target. bringing the total number of systems under contract to 174.438 1. In February 2012. Quick Reaction Program T-Pod systems were bought from BAE Systems for Gray Eagle UAS for just $12.368 786 1. SIGINT & EA Teal Group has forecast UAS signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic attack (EA) as the fastest growing UAS sensor market. BAMS’ initial operational capability is currently planned for December 2015. requesting no more than 95 systems at a mere $955.” But if only 22 operational aircraft are needed. All-weath- er radio frequency sensors will offer great benefits compared to EO/IR when opponents can no longer hide behind clouds or smoke. especially if the Navy wants to buy manned Joint Strike Fighters. a NATO official also stated NATO expected to spend 2 billion euros over the next two decades to operate its five Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Global Hawks. The biggest growth market for UAS SARs in the second half of the forecast period will likely be for tactical and smaller UAS.vehicle is to arrive at Sigonella air base in Sicily around 2015. In September 2012.000 per unit.138 5. FY14 72 34 84 68 54 84 396 FY15 70 36 80 80 66 86 418 FY16 72 38 120 92 64 100 486 FY17 80 36 134 142 80 114 586 FY18 80 42 148 156 88 118 632 FY19 76 44 160 160 80 136 656 FY20 88 40 180 188 94 140 730 FY21 84 46 212 200 102 146 790 FY22 86 44 242 212 108 144 836 Total 748 392 1. and in early 2012 the Army issued an RFI for TSP production. the Navy spoke of the successful use of BAMS demonstrators providing maritime surveillance for the Navy’s 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf region. especially as the Navy is becoming something of a lame duck user of non-MP-RTIP Global Hawks (South Korea canceled its planned Global SIGINT & EA Global Hawk/Predator ASIP TSP/T-Pod Other endurance UCAV+EA Other tactical Available international Total FY13 40 32 78 70 50 70 340 Hawk buy due to cost increases. Expect a much broader expansion of SARs to small UAS over the next decade. with an 11.3 percent from fiscal 2013 to 2022.3 million. Overall. the Navy plans to acquire 68 Global Hawks with the marinized MultiFunction Active Sensor SAR/inverse SAR. but Teal believes this will be stretched. but the future of several major programs — Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) and BAE Systems’ Tactical SIGINT Payload (TSP) — has recently become uncertain. Germany may independently buy a few more. Despite a BAMS-D crash in testing in 2012. to maintain a standing operational fleet of 22 five-aircraft orbits and allow for “attrition and depot maintenance requirements. With a worldwide 20-30 air vehicle MP-RTIP fleet now pretty much settled. upgrade and operations and maintenance funding for a 68-aircraft fleet with a unique radar will be massive. and Australia is no longer in the BAMS program). and Starlite is also being downsized to about 45 pounds for the Shadow tactical UAS.3 percent compound annual growth rate from fiscal 2013 to 2018 and 6. with IOC in 2016. reduced or simply canceled. Teal Group still sees SIGINT sensors (essentially radio frequency ISR) migrating to nearly all types of UAS. especially as small UAS endurance increases.
Air and Sea • Jobs and Economy • Enhancing Public Safety • Mitigating and Monitoring Disasters • Helping the Environment • Fostering Education and Learning • Increasing Efficiency in Agriculture • FAA Flight Restrictions Discover the Endless Benefits of Unmanned Systems 38 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . The Air Force is undoubtedly working on this. has been flying in Afghanistan since 2011 on two Beechcraft King Air manned ISR aircraft. with fairly steady 10 to 13 percent compound annual growth rate throughout. This reportedly indicates plans to develop an EMI-resistant EA platform. In mid-2012. smaller programs have already put EA systems into service. A new market. Va. is electronic attack systems for stealthy UAS. But as with SIGINT.Market Report — continued from Page 37 but many small systems from urgent non-program-of-record developments are now already in service. while the Navy will lead the nonblack market with its UCLASS or a dedicated carrier-borne EA UCAV. With coming budget cuts. these may just suffice. and the Office of Naval Research has developed the Software Reprogrammable Payload C4I/SIGINT system for Marine Corps Shadow and other small UAS. As examples. Rockwell is senior electronics analyst for Teal Group Corp. Teal Group forecasts the UAS SIGINT and EA market growing from $340 million in fiscal 2013 to $840 million in fiscal 2022. reports indicated the Navy planned to subject its X-47B UCAS-D to a burst of electromagnetic interference (EMI) of 2. All told. about 10 times the level used for most carrier-based aircraft testing. BAE Systems has developed the company-funded NanoSIGINT payload for small UAS. Increasinghumanpotential. likely to see much classified funding. perhaps with a high–power microwave “weapon” intended to damage opposing electronics systems. based on Raytheon’s AN/ALQ227 Communications Countermeasures Set from the EA-18G Growler..com. The Army plans to integrate CEASAR on the MQ-1C Gray Eagle in 2013. David L. His email address is drockwell@ tealgroup. a provider of aerospace and defense competitive intelligence based in Fairfax.org promotes the use of unmanned systems and robotics in the following categories: • By Land. with expensive major programs such as ASIP being considerably reduced or eliminated. The Army’s Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CEASAR) pod.000 volts per meter.
mesh networks that can be installed on mobile robots. Photo courtesty Northeastern University. Such measurements can be made on the ground. Several companies and universities have been looking into the use of “mesh networks. It proved capable of dropping two Linksys routers encased in Pelican waterproof cases. according to Fox News. unfortunately. a project intended to display their computer and electrical engineering knowledge. That would be iRobot’s FirstLook 100. TESTING H aving a wireless network can be key in remote areas that lack infrastructure and dangerous areas like battle zones. but found them too expensive so instead resorted to off-the-shelf Linksys units running open-source firmware. SCAN IT or Click IT: To see a video of the students’ work. 2 feet wide and weighing 150 pounds. The Northeastern robot is also described by its inventors as a “beast. demonstrated last spring at Rotterdam Harbor. The network was hooked up to a network of Axis cameras that could “leapfrog” coverage as the shuttle moved along. but in the case of Mission Critical • Winter 2012 39 . those are some of the very places where such networks aren’t likely to be found. click or scan this barcode with your smartphone. to study the content of burning clouds of hazardous smoke. in the words of one of its inventors. The work began in the summer of 2011 and wrapped up in December.” where robots either deploy network nodes or become part of the network themselves. is partly designed to use mesh networking to “allow multiple robots to relay communications over greater distances.” and indeed it could carry multiple versions of another robot intended to create mesh networks. and which can shift as the mobile nodes move. but for it to be controlled over that network at the same time. it proved to be “utterly badass. which ordered 100 of them last spring. In the cloud Some efforts to develop mesh networking rely on small unmanned aircraft instead of ground vehicles. The group’s idea was for a ground robot to not only deploy network nodes to create a network. The robot was built from scratch and ended up being more than 3 feet long. was intended to show how a swarm of small UAS could share information with each other. with the results published on a website later that month.” the company says. And. The 5-pound robot.Mesh networking: Robots set up networks where there aren’t any TESTING. and operators on the ground. throwable robot that has made a splash at recent AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America conferences. manned vehicles or at fixed locations. giving it a total range of one kilometer. Germany’s Project AirShield. now being evaluated by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.-based Cobham specializes in providing radios to provide flexible. The U.K. One such effort was undertaken by students at Northeastern University. the tiny.” The Northeastern University node-dropping ground robot. who chose a robotic deployment system as part of their capstone design program. The Cobham technology was recently used by the Los Angeles police force to monitor the crosstown progress of the space shuttle Endeavour as it made its way to the California Science Center in October. The students had hoped to use tiny Wi-Fi repeaters.
“At present the fire brigade personnel are provided with special handheld devices that can only measure the concentration of different pollutants at ground level but are unable to survey and quantify the level of contamination carried in the atmosphere by winds and/or ascending columns of smoke.” Microdrones’ md4-1000. which could interact with the aircraft using cell phones. but the concept calls for a swarm of such systems using mesh network software to communicate with each other and the ground.” the think tank says on its website.” says a project briefing prepared by small UAS maker Microdrones. Testing — continued from Page 39 fires. “Their bodies illuminate. Pirate Bay has its own motives for becoming mobile — 14 countries have ordered their Internet providers to block its site. used a single Microdrones md4-1000 vehicle. At that event. and its founders were found guilty of allowing illegal file sharing — but supporters of the idea say mobile.Testing. a Swedenbased site that allows users to swap content (much of it copyrighted. hence the name) announced in 2012 that in the future some of its net- SCAN IT or Click IT: To see a video of Tomorrows’ Thoughts Today’s electronic countermeasures UAS network. was undertaken to allow file sharing. the London-based think tank Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today said it has already created a small fleet of Internet-capable UAS. One recent effort. 40 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 .” The demonstration. where governments moved to shut down Internet access. work could be based on clouds of small UAS. SCAN IT or Click IT: To see a video of the demonstration. a mobile infrastructure that passersby can interact with. which it dubbed an “aerial Napster. The vehicle used in the demonstration employed a tiny Gumstix microcomputer with mesh networking software supplied by Germany’s TU Dortmund University. The swarm becomes a pirate broadcast network. airborne networks could also be useful in places like Egypt and Syria. An overview of Project AirShield. File sharing Not all of the network-in-the-sky ideas are aimed at generating networks in war zones or for first responders. “Such a measurement is critical to the safety of outlying communities that may be affected by these aerial pollutants. The group Pirate Bay. in fact. click or scan this barcode. the UAS hovered over the crowd. augmented communities form around the glowing flock. which has sponsored a series of conferences on robotic mesh networking. they flicker and glow to indicate their activity. click or scan this barcode with your smartphone. Thinking along those same lines. a version of which was used in a test of AirShield. “As we signal the drones they break formation and are called over. which involved setting fires in three surface bins on the docks.” and demonstrated it in late 2011 at a festival in the Netherlands. most pollutants are in the air and moving. one of the partners in the program. Impromptu. funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
and is basically a GPS-based transponder that reports an aircraft’s position. Wash. says it recently tested an ADS-B on the Guardian. An Arcturus T-20 UAV took off from Camp Roberts’ McMillan Airfield via its rail launch system and the two aircraft then flew an aerial ballet. Several demonstrations have been conducted in recent months showing the utility of ADS-B for senseand-avoid use. It also identified other Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . which has the military designation of AN/DPX-7.ADS-B tests may help expedite UAS flights in public airspace TECHNOLOGY GAP aircraft flying nearby if they were using ADS-B. the president and founder of Sagetech. based in Rohnert Park. including heading and altitude. the Guardian detected other ADS-B-equipped aircraft in the vicinity. such as aircraft firefighting operations under temporary flight restrictions or during military range operations.. based in Lusby. but say it’s a tool that could be used to speed the use of UAS in some instances. One technology expected to help with sense and avoid is ADS-B. which com41 The ADS-B display inside the Cirrus aircraft used in the North Dakota demonstration. or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. R3 Engineering. Md. and Sagetech Corp. Calif.. Reaper and Gray Eagle line of UAS.. and also sent its own location via ADS-B out. which relayed them via WiFi to an iPad using Hilton Software’s WingX application. The aircraft used a prototype of BAE Systems’ Reduced Size Transponder. In a test off the Florida coast on 10 Aug. The aircraft then appeared over a terrain map. In the demonstration. The companies don’t claim that ADS-B is a magic bullet that solves the sense-and-avoid issue for unmanned aircraft. although Scribner didn’t stray into the restricted airspace and the T-20 didn’t stray out of it. ADS-B in the news Sagetech and Arcturus aren’t the only companies testing the uses of ADS-B. It’s a friend-or-foe transponder that can operate with both military and civilian air traffic control systems and is capable of sending and receiving ADS-B signals. Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen system. based in White Salmon. said in October that it had successfully tested its All Weather Sense and Avoid (AWSAS) system. which were then received by the company’s Clarity receivers. taking off from nearby Paso Robles airport. S ense and avoid has become a key technological goal for allow flights of unmanned aircraft in uncontrolled airspace around the world. the Office of Customs and Border Patrol’s marinized Predator platform. the builder of the Predator. One took place at Camp Roberts. It’s part of the U. Calif. Photo courtesy NASA. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.. displaying their location on a ground control station display. identified by name.. piloted a Cirrus SR-22 aircraft. Kelvin Scribner. and involved cooperation between two AUVSI members: Arcturus UAV.S. The system used Sagetech’s tiny XP transponders to broadcast ADS-B position messages.
aircraft without transponders showing their location. manded an unmanned aircraft’s autopilot to depart from its flight path to avoid another aircraft. California and North Dakota.The Arcturus T-20 before the flight. R3 plans to conduct further testing that will include sensor data tracking noncooperative aircraft — that is. had a safety pilot in the cockpit. Canada. The ADS-B information was available both on computer monitors and iPad and iPhone screens. MITRE and UND developed automatic sense-and-avoid computer software algorithms that were uploaded onto a NASA Langley Cirrus SR-22 general aviation aircraft. following earlier demonstrations in Arizona. but researchers say computer programs developed by MITRE and UND automatically maneuvered the aircraft to avoid conflicts.. UND and the MITRE Corp. 42 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 . aircraft flown by NASA and the University of North Dakota took to the skies to demonstrate a new kind of unmanned sense-andavoid technology. Over the course of two weeks of testing. worked on technology that could one day help unmanned aircraft better integrate into the National Airspace System. NASA. The development and testing of AWSAS has been funded by the Office of Naval Research. On 20 Sept. Newfoundland. AUVSI photo. AUVSI photo. A supporting UND Cessna 172 flew as a simulated “intruder” aircraft. NASA and its partners are planning additional test flights in 2013. The flight was conducted on 10 Aug. Follow-on testing is to feature additional advanced software by MITRE and UND. as well as sense-and-avoid software managed by a task automation framework developed by Draper Laboratory. the Defense Safety Oversight Council’s Aviation Safety Technologies program and Naval Air Systems Command. The Cirrus. which was developed as a test bed to assess and mimic unmanned aircraft systems. in Argentia.
“We had an interest of a military standpoint of trying to address the problems of our service members that are coming back blinded. The perception is high resolution. like on an eye chart. “The signal delay caused by nerve conduct velocity is not terribly significant.’ ‘I saw that he moved this.” he says. “If you have somebody that’s been born blind. called the Brain Port. of his surroundings.” he says. it is perceived quickly relative to. But after using the system for six hours in one day. For somebody that’s been blind or has been born blind. meaning it creates a touch-based impression on the tongue of what its camera detects in the visible light spectrum. after we were done with training for the day. the tongue and hands account for the largest amount of the brain’s ability to process senses.” When Raj wears the sensor himself. that we read with or that we recognize faces with. ‘Well. “Well. We found there’s a big difference for their ability to incorporate the information.” These signals have quickly translated to a fill-in for sight in the subjects Raj has tested. or they might not have any visual memories if they were born blind. much like the eyes. they’ve never seen the letter E. healthy individuals … who now are blind and trying to get on with their lives. what image? And he said ever since he became blind. the experience of wearing the tongue display was so akin to sight that he kept seeking sensory inputs even after the experiment was over.” IHMC’s work focuses on those who have recently lost their sight.” explains Raj. “They’ll say ‘I looked at this. “The big advantage of the tongue for vision is its high resolution. That was his entire visual perception. says Raj. when does this image go away?’” says Raj. Raj is repurposing a tactile sensor placed on the tongue along with an array of wearable infrared sensors to give a blind person an impression. so if we can present a signal there on the tongue. “And so these are all young. They might have felt it. everything seemed pitch back. and that allows you to use the camera in a way that is very similar to the central vision that we’re all familiar with. But the tongue has a leg up on the hands — its position on the body. he suspects he’s filling in missing information with his own visual knowledge. The tongue’s short distance from the brain allows for very low signal lag between its location and where an image is processed.’ They think in terms of it being visual after they get used to it. focused on the letter E. “The blind individuals we’ve tested it in … fairly consistently describe their perception in visual terms. say.” he says. but to translate it … to what a camera picks up. just off the cuff asked. If a subject were. The project uses a commercial tactile tongue sensor. darkest black you can ever imagine. who tend to have a better visual memory than people who lost their vision decades ago or have never had a visual memory. I don’t necessarily think that maps directly. Anil Raj at the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition is taking with his research subjects that have lost their sight serving in the military. That’s the approach Dr. sending that same tactile signal somewhere else on the body. their visual memories are not great or aren’t that rich anymore. he could feel the contrast of the E on his tongue. a raised letter E somewhere. for example.” For one individual.Lip reading IHMC’s tongue sensor fills in for sight END USERS T he key to overcoming blindness might be on the tip of our tongues. because the tongue and pharynx are tied into a lot of brain matter via the nervous system — the reason humans can talk and similar species cannot.” Mission Critical • Winter 2012 43 . “We had one gentleman that after he took the tongue display out. he said it felt like there was a television screen in his visual perception that was just showing signals [and] that the station had gone off the air. After the retina. the coldest. “They have no sense of what the relationship is in general. quite literally.
we can notice when a waiter approaches us. Raj takes other measurements from accelerometers and gyroscopes and cancels out updates that are strictly related to head movements. “If we’re reading the menu at the restaurant.” 44 Mission Critical • Winter 2012 .End Users — continued from Page 43 The BrainPort sensor that IHMC is using to reroute sight to the tongue for the blind. “But our real interesting part is our software algorithm that more or less creates this streaming map of the environment via multiple sources and sensors. for example. ” … They do what we ask them to do or what we command them to do. “So if you’re walking. only accepting a mod- ulated signal that doesn’t consider other light sources. like strange reflections. and with that setting they wouldn’t necessarily be able to perceive that someone walked up. So we don’t necessarily want to reflect every single one of those changes. Raj is using a series of infrared emitters that use a frequency-modulated beam to detect a person’s surroundings.” To accomplish this. they would have to be zoomed in tightly enough on the menu to be able to read the text. Filling in the periphery Focusing in on a person’s central vision doesn’t cover the entire picture though. he says. The algorithm also has another task because of the infrared array’s location — canceling out any head unintentional head motion. like doors and hallways. “We’re not startled when they come up.” This kind of focus is the essence of Raj’s work at IHMC. so it can work in nearly any environment.” explains Raj. or if you just turn your neck around. “The focus is to improve the sensory interactions between robotic systems. “Robots don’t go off and do things by themselves. Raj uses 24 pairs of these sensors in an array around the head. and the humans that are interacting with those systems. whereas with something like the BrainPort for a blind person. Raj’s work incorporates peripheral vision with what the tongue display’s camera sees to give a person a wider field of view. And that goes both ways. and what we’re working on is when we can make that level of interaction more interactive and more functional with less cognitive effort. which through an algorithm the institute created can tell how far away objects are by measuring the echoes of infrared beams. your head is bobbing around a little bit.” he says. AUVSI photo. The sensors work the same way as a television remote does. it doesn’t really change how things are relative to your body in the world around you.” The software filters out errors.” To do this.
12-15 August Walter E.org .C.000+ Attendees thE DAtE Promoting and Supporting Unmanned Systems and Robotics Across the Globe auvsishow.15 August 550+ Exhibiting Companies 40+ Countries Represented 8. Washington Convention Center • Washington D.15 August Tradeshow from 13 . AVE Conference from 12 .