Saturday, January 19, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #112

Drones:

Canada has introduced strict rules for drone flights.

DJI drones can fly over crowds, if they have parachutes.

Drones have been shown to make traffic accident assessments safer and faster.

Dronestagram's drone photo contest had some breath taking entries.

The FAA is proposing relaxing the rules on flying drones.

Heathrow Airport was shutdown because of drones.

Intelligent Energy claims a new endurance record for hydrogen powered flight by a quad copter: 70 minutes.

The NYPD deployed a drone on New Year's Eve for security purposes.

The Severn Bridge in Britain was shutdown because someone started flying a drone from one of its towers.

A wireless tech company has found a way to charge drones without landing.

Self Driving Cars:

What is the future of transportation in the Automated Age (aka robopocalypse)?

Are self driving car efforts stalling?

Australia's autonomous train is being called the world's longest robot.

Baidu's self driving cars can handle speed bumps and parking lots now.

China is launching automated high speed trains.

DoorDash has teamed with GM's Cruise to test self driving cars for deliveries in San Francisco.

Intel's Mobileye tech is helping China's public transit become autonomous.

Hyundai has unveiled its autonomous charging concept.

KIA is looking past self driving cars to the next step.

Panasonic unveiled its self driving vehicle concept, the SPACe_C.

Stop and Shop will have self driving mini markets come to your house.

There is a self driving robotic bar.  Kid you not.

Toyota's self driving Lexus is testing two different self driving technologies.

And Toyota's self driving tech is improving.

Yandex's self driving car demo at CES has no safety driver.

3d Printing:

A new technique can 3d print 100 times faster than with melted filament layers.

In Eidhoven, a 3d printing house factory is being rolled out.

Robotics:

2018 robotics in review.

Breadbot can produce a new loaf of freshly baked bread every 6 minutes.

Caper's smart cart uses software bots to allow customers to skip checkout lines.

Hyundai has a new walking 'car.'

The Israeli robot ElliQ is designed to engage and interact with the elderly.

Pepsi is testing snack delivery bots on college campuses.

Police ended a standoff at a gas station by delivering a vape pen.

Robot butler dreams are getting closer to reality.

Watch this robot teach itself to walk.

This robot dog taught itself to walk.

A new approach will improve robots ability grasp.

A robot is helping with some experimental paleontology.

A Russian company claimed a self driving Tesla ran over its robot.  It appears to have been staged.

Segway is getting into the automated delivery business.

The Temi telepresence robot has added Alexa to its capabilities.

UBtech's Walker robot is intended to help at home.

Washington State University has its own robot for elder care.

Exoskeletons:

Atoun has unveiled two new exoskeletons.

Neofect has a robotic glove for those with hand paralysis.

Samsung has their own exoskeletons.

Sarcos Robotics has an exoskeleton capable of lifting 200 lbs.

Toyota's Mobility conference had ride share wheelchairs (!) and exoskeletons.

Whill's self driving wheel chair is coming.

Cyborgism:

Facebook's Zuckerberg and his wife funded brain implantable devices.

Software Bots:

China is flourishing with AI in no small part because of all the health care data and very lax rules regarding its sharing.

DeepSqueek is a software bot designed to interpret what sounds rodents are making.

Google's Assistant will soon be listening in on 1 billion devices.  Hello, big brother!

Google's AI is helping book flights online.

IBM is killing off Watson Workspace.

The Mayo Clinic is using software bots to detect heart disease.

Microsoft is stripping Cortana out of the its search.

The mining industry hasn't embraced software bots yet.

Did Numenta have a breakthrough in software bots?

A software bot using machine learning might have found an unsolvable math problem.

Software bots can help ID problems in EKGs.

A software bot can diagnose genetic illnesses from people's pictures.

A new software bot can listen for unusual sounds in your home and alert you if something is amiss.

New software bots are going to be used to crackdown on password sharing for video services like netflix.

Yet another software bot can detect if you have a urinary tract infection.

Software bots threaten privacy of health care data.

Software bots can now ID an individual zebrafish in a shoal of 100.

Software bots are starting to be able to organize what they see.

Unprovability is becoming a problem for whether or not software bots are actually useful for some problems.

Virtual assistants are hitting a wall.

Automation:

Kroger and Microsoft are testing 'connected' grocery stores.

An automated chemical compound fabricating lab.

The hotel is Japan run by robots is getting rid of half of them.

META:

Americans want AI regulated, but don't trust anyone to do it.

It's getting hard to tell what's automated or not.

What happens when you automate your coworkers out of a job?

LG's vision of the future has creeped some out.

Will the end of Moore's Law halt the Singularity?

Did GM's decline come from trying to automate?

The robopocalypse has been displacing some workers, but not all.

We should not freak out over the robopocalypse.

Finland has an ambitious plan to teach everyone the basics of AI.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Project Lyra: the Proposed Mission to Oumuamua



Authors:


Hein et al

Abstract: 
The first definitely interstellar object 1I/‘Oumuamua (previously A/2017 U1) observed in our solar system provides the opportunity to directly study material from other star systems. Can such objects be intercepted? The challenge of reaching the object within a reasonable timeframe is formidable due to its high heliocentric hyperbolic excess velocity of about 26 km/s; much faster than any vehicle yet launched. This paper presents a high-level analysis of potential near-term options for a mission to 1I/‘Oumuamua and potential similar objects. Launching a spacecraft to 1I/‘Oumuamua in a reasonable timeframe of 5–10 years requires a hyperbolic solar system excess velocity between 33 and 76 km/s for mission durations between 30 and 5 years. Different mission durations and their velocity requirements are explored with respect to the launch date, assuming direct impulsive transfer to the intercept trajectory. For missions using a powered Jupiter flyby combined with a solar Oberth maneuver using solid rocket boosters and Parker Solar Probe heat shield technology, a Falcon Heavy-class launcher would be able to launch a spacecraft of dozens of kilograms towards 1I/‘Oumuamua, if launched in 2021. An additional Saturn flyby would allow for the launch of a New Horizons-class spacecraft. Further technology options are outlined, ranging from electric propulsion, and more advanced options such as laser electric propulsion, and solar and laser sails. To maximize science return decelerating the spacecraft at ’Oumuamua is highly desirable, due to the minimal science return from a hyper-velocity encounter. Electric and magnetic sails could be used for this purpose. It is concluded that although reaching the object is challenging, there seem to be feasible options based on current and near-term technology.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

China Claims to have Tested a TBCC Engine, Allowing for Hypersonic, Airbreathing Flight

China's home-grown turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine system has completed its design and development stage and entered the aircraft-engine integration test phase, a major step toward the development of the country's next generation hypersonic drone.

An article published by the WeChat account of Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute, a design facility of the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Co, on Thursday said the TBCC engine flight test project is led by the institute's chief architect Wang Haifeng, who also led key national defense projects, such as the development of the J-20 and J-10 fighter jets.

The TBCC engine combines a turbine and a scramjet engine, which offers an ideal single-engine solution to achieving the shift from low speed to hypersonic speed, said Liu Xingzhou, a prominent ramjet expert and Chinese Academy of Engineering academician at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Cooperation, in 2011.

The TBCC engine will allow the aircraft to fly at speeds of up to Mach 6, which means five to six times faster than the speed of sound, said Wei Xudong, a Beijing-based military analyst.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Stealth Saga #43

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF's 6th gen PCA may cost $300M each or so thinks the CBO.  Some think that is unaffordable.

The USAF AWFICS has been considering the 6th gen.

Has the USAF started prototyping its 6th gen PCA fighter?

Germany and France are inviting Spain to be a full partner in the FCAS.

Japan is feeling its way forward with the F-3 program despite ordering more F-35s.

KF-X:

Indonesia has resumed making payments for the KF-X/IF-X fighter program.

Neuron UCAV:

The Spanish Eurofighters conducted tests with the French Neuron UCAV demonstrator.

Su-57:

The Su-57 is supposedly going to be equipped with a hypersonic attack missile.  This won't help the aircraft.

The Russians have also updated the stealth coating on the Su-57.

PAK-DA:

Russia is reminding everyone they are working on the PAK-DA bomber.

Sky Hawk UCAV:

China has flown its Sky Hawk UCAV demonstrator and it has been upgraded for potential aircraft carrier use.

The Sky Hawk may also have Have Raider/Loyal Wingman esque capabilities.

J-31/FC-31:

Speculation resurfaces China is building a carrier based variant of the J-31/FC-31.

J-20:

A fake J-20 showed up at Savannah, Georgia.  It turns out to have been a mockup for OPFOR training paid for by the USMC.

USAFA Target Drone:

The USAFA is building the first stealthy target drone for the USAF.

Stealth Special Ops Transports:

The Warzone has a two part article on the multi decade quest for stealthy special ops transports for the US.

They also discuss the origins of the StealthHawk helicopter we saw the tail of from the bin laden raid.

B-21:

The B-21 program completed a review and project remains on track.  Rumors were true and this was the CDR.

The USAF feels it needs more bombers.

B-2:

Whiteman AFB released a video of a B-2 dropping two 30,000 lbs bombs.

The B-2 overflew the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade.

The USAF is sending B-2s to Hawaii for exercises.

F-22:

Some of the Tyndall AFB F-22s are now based in Alaska.

F-35:

Major Rachael Winiecki has become the first female F-35 test pilot.

The F-35 has begun IOT&E testing.

The Block IV F-35s will have improved maritime strike capabilities.

The USAF announced a new F-35 areobatic display for the 2019 airshow season.

An F-35 oooed and aaahed folks with its flight through Star Wars Canyon.

F-35 operators are switching the version of the AIM-9 they are using.

F-35As will probably replace the F-22s at Tyndall AFB.

The 388th Fighter Wing’s 421st Fighter Squadron received its first F-35A.

The US Navy's first operational F-35C squadron is declared safe for flight.

The  US Navy's F-35Cs have a 15% readiness rating.

The F-35C is on track, despite the above, to be declared to have reached IOC.

Australia's first two F-35s are due to arrived on Dec 10th.

Watch British F-35Bs with F-15s and Rafales.

The Brits are on a roll after their testing of the F-35B.

The British RAF/RN are in a tug of war over the order of the F-35s.

The British have declared IOC for land based ops for its F-35s.

Israel has started making its own wings components for the F-35C.

More on Italy declaring IOC for its F-35As.

Italy will review the F-35 program in 2019.

Japan is replacing 99 F-15SJs with F-35s.  The F-4 Phantoms will also be replaced with already planned F-35s.

Some are convinced Japan's intent to convert its helicopter carriers to VSTOL carriers using F-35Bs is going to be harder than people think.  Japan is moving forward, however, to counter Russia and China.

With this latest order, Japan is on track for to become the second largest operator of F-35s.

The Pentagon stated if Turkey is removed from the F-35 program, there won't be a devastating impact.

Turkey is endangering its F-35 purchase by not cancelling its S-400 buy.

Leonardo figured out how to overcome overheating issues with the internal F-35 training system.

Lockheed met its production target for 2018 and delivered 91 F-35s.

Lockheed also got a contract for updating the F-35's avionics.

META:

A course to integrate 4th & 5th gen fighters took place.

The US Congress' CBO floated the idea of postponing the B-21, 6th gen fighter, getting rid of the F-22 and ending manufacture of the F-35 to save on the budget.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Shutdown Postpones SpaceX Dragon V2 Flight to February

ASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than February for the launch of Demo-1 to complete hardware testing and joint reviews.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Russians Claim to Have Successfully Tested the Avangard Boost Glide Weapon

The Russian Defence Ministry, on orders from President Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday conducted a successful test launch of an Avangard missile from the Orenburg region, hitting a target in Kamchatka, the Kremlin press service reports.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Terminator Times #53

Unmanned AerialVehicles (drones):

The USAFA Cadets are building a stealthy target drone.

The USAF gave General Atomics a $293M contract to support the MQ-9 Reapers.

The US Army has teamed with Lockheed to create a UAV armed with a high powered microwave weapon.

The US Coast Guard Commandant wants a small UAV like the ScanEagle for its future patrol cutters.

The US Navy has modified the contract for Boeing to continue work on the MQ-25A Stingray.

China has developed a kerosene burning variant of its CH-4 uav.

China has exported its 100th Wing Loong UAV.

A second Chinese made CH-4B has been shot down in Yemen.

Egypt is buying a second lot of Chinese UAVs.

The Europeans have finished the design definition of the program formerly called the EuroMALE.

A Russian company has created the Carnivora UAV to intercept other drones.

The Russian army will be receiving drones in 2019.

Airbus' VSR700 flew its first autonomous flight.

Does Elbit's rise mean the downfall of IAI?

Elbit and Adani opened a joint UAV center.

Schiebel demonstrated new payloads for its S-100 VTOL UAV for the Australian army.

V-BAT aspires to replace the Shadow UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos & Ogres):

The Brits' new bomb disposal robot has haptic feedback for its operators.

Endeavor Robotics unveiled details of its Scorpion UGV.

Israel's Rafael envisions a mobile command center/mothership for unmanned ground vehicles.

Rheinmetall's Mission Master UGV gets profiled and a weaponized variant is in the works.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

Are swarms of underwater drones the future of mine clearing?

China's Haiyan underwater glider UUV operated for 141 days and travelled 3619 km in the South China Sea.

Russia has begun testing its intercontinental nuclear torpedo/UUV called Poseidon according to reports.

Thales teamed with msubs to work on UUVs.

Software Bots:

How the Pentagon is working on a two pronged approach to "AI."

After the Pentagon's relationship with Google collapsed, it's seeking its own AI talent.

Counter UAV:

The Russian Pantsir air defenses may be unable to defend against drones.  The Russians claim they have developed a new targeting system in response.

META: