Sunday, November 17, 2019

Merkel Agrees to let Putin Carve off the Donbass From Ukraine, ahem, Grant it Special Status

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Monday that Ukraine should give its separatist-led Donbass region a special status set out in Ukrainian law, the Kremlin said.

It gave no further details of the leaders’ discussions on the future of Donbass during a phone call, but agreement on its status would be a step toward convening a four-nation summit on ending five years of conflict in the eastern region.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said last month that Kiev had agreed to grant Donbass special status and let local elections go ahead there. The breakthrough raised hopes that a date would be set for the summit involving Kiev, Moscow, Berlin and Paris.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Terminator Times #65

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

DARPA has selected 8 companies to do dogfight air to air combat.

The RQ-4D has received its military certification.

The RQ-4s have been redeployed from Japan to Guam.

The USAF is going to test using the XQ-58A Valkyrie as a com link between F-35 and F-22s.

A USAF F-35A worked with a MQ-9 Reaper near Area 51.

The US Army is integrating drones with its Hololens tech.

The US Navy is placing Link-16 on its MQ-8C FireScouts.

Australia and America have been testing drone delivered medical supplies.

The Brits gave a contract mod to General Atomics for their SkyGuardians.

The Brit's Royal Navy has begun mini UAV training.

China may be exporting autonomous UCAVs.

The Czech Army formed a UAV battalion.

France is starting to arm its MQ-9 Reapers.

France has completed integration of the S-100 camcopter with its LHD.

Airbus unveiled its stealthy UAV test article paid for by Germany.

Hezbollah fired on an Israeli drone.

Houthis claim to have downed a ScanEagle in Yemen.

Iran claims to have shot down a drone over one of its port cities.  The US has stated its not one of theirs.

An Israeli shot down a drone over the Gaza Strip.

The Koreans are studying the results of their unmanned 500MD tests.

Russia has started testing the Orion-2 UAV with strike capabilities.

The Russians are testing Flock 93, a 100 drone strong swarm with individual explosives to attack convoys.  Russia claims they bombed and attacked air defenses with their Flock 93 during an exercise.

Airbus has started testing its VSR700 unmanned helicopter.

Bell plans an unmanned demo of the V-280 by year's end.

FLIR Systems is enhancing tethered UAV ops.

General Atomic is developing an attritable drone called the SparrowHawk that can be launched from and recovered by a Reaper.

General Atomics will also demo MQ-9s for maritime patrols in Europe.

HAPSMobile Hawk30 solar powered UAV conducted a 1.5 hour flight.

Leonardo has invested in the Skydweller electric UAV.

Northrop got a contract mod for supporting the MQ-4C Triton.

UAV Turbines is developing micro turbines for UAVs.

UAVOS has flown its 14m wingspan.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos, Ogres and Terminators, oh my):

The US Army selected the GD MUTT UGV to carry combat troops' loads.

The US Army has down selected to four teams for the RCV-L.  The teams are preparing their proposals.

The US Army has given the $106M contract for its Common Robotic System - Heavy to FLIR.

South Korean companies displayed prototype UGVs.

BAe has a 'Rolling Lab' UGV.

The Textron RIPSAW M5 gets touted for the RCV contracts.

Three teams are moving in on the US Army's RCV-M program.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro-boats):

The USMC and US Navy will move forward with their unmanned vessel programs.

LIG Nex1 unveiled its Sea Sword II USV.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo Subs):

Hanwha displayed a ASW UUV.

Software Bots (Skynet!):

A set of ethical rules have been proposed for AI in war by a panel for the Pentagon.

The Pentagon's biggest problem with AI is dirty data.

The US may be falling behind in its use of AI in war.

US Army researchers are working on bots to cooperate with people.

The US Navy is pleased by the COTS focus of the Pentagon AI office (sigh).

Software bots will be used for target detection in a 2020 wargame.

Time is not on the US' side when it comes to AI in warfare.

China may be seeking military AI without ethics or limits.

Japan is going to use AI to study the data gathered by maritime patrol craft.

Google is back to working with the US military again.

Can Microsoft's AI work both for peaceful purposes and the US Military?


Drone wars are here.

A bipartisan commission suggests the US military should consider purely autonomous weapons.

Are we well on our way to a terminator style uprising?

The US Navy is working on refining the unmanned surface and underwater command structures.

Friday, November 15, 2019

All Four RS-25 Engines Installed on First SLS Rocket

In a major milestone for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), all four RS-25 engines – veterans of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) – have been installed into the core stage of the rocket that will conduct the maiden flight of NASA’s new monster rocket on the Artemis-1 mission.

SLS will use the full inventory of flight-proven Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSMEs), or RS-25Ds, before exhausting the stock and moving to the RS-25E.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Chinese Air Launched Ballistic Missile may be Entering Service Soon (or Already)

An article published in the Chinese bi-monthly magazine Modern Ships illustrating how a Xian H-6N strategic bomber would carry an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) may indicate that this capability is in the final stages of development, or may even have entered service.

The 1 November issue of the magazine shows on its cover a high-quality computer-generated (CG) image of an H-6N, the latest variant of the H-6 bomber, carrying an underslung missile. The cover features the headline ‘Bombers rule the waves’ and more CG images of the ALBM-carrying bomber are included inside the magazine.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #121


Would you trust a self landing passenger plane?

Drone swarms could protect airports from intruding drones.

The US Department of the Interior has grounded all its DJI drones due to Chinese government spying concerns.  DJI is aware and China is not happy.

Aircraft pilots mostly miss seeing drones.

Drones are mapping Iceland's receding glaciers.

DJI's palm sized Mavic is small enough it doesn't need to be registered with the FAA and can fly for 30 minutes.

Google's Wing has started doing deliveries in the US.

Harvard's Robobees now use soft robot muscles for its powered flight.

Skydio has an autonomous, self charging drone.

A swarm of search and rescue drones could function without people.

Uber has unveiled its new VTOL drone for Uber Eats and hopes that will push the company into profitability.

UPS and CVS have teamed up to deliver prescriptions by drone.  It has done so in Cary, North Carolina for the first time.

Volvocopter has a massive drone that can lift 200 kg as cargo.

Self Driving Cars:

Would you let a self driving car drive you?

Why are parking lots so tough for self driving cars?

Self driving cars could make traffic worse.

A better algorithm has been created for autonomous vehicles in merging traffic/

Lyft is collaborating with Uber and Ford on self driving car safety.

MIT is teaching self driving cars to watch shadows so it can 'see' around corners.

Sony's Social Cart is a self driving shuttle with lots of advertising.

Tesla's summon capability might be glitchy.

Tesla's Autopilot now recognizes traffic cones.

Toyota's self driving e-Palette vehicles will shuttle people around at the 2020 Olympics.

Uber laid off 350 people, including from their self driving division.

An auditor found that Uber does, in fact, use Waymo code in its self driving cars.  This will force Uber to either license it or completely rewrite chunks of the code.  It will be expensive and setback Uber's plans nontrivially either way.

The Uber self driving car that killed the homeless woman in Phoenix, AZ, could not detect jaywalkers and had other serious software flaws.

Uber's self driving cars were in 37 accidents before hitting and killing the woman.  3 were caused by the self driving car.

VW has set up self driving car tech offices in Silicon Valley and China.

Waymo is close to unleashing its self driving cars with no backup driver.

In fact, Waymo seems to have in Phoenix.

Waymo's self driving cars will start mapping Los Angeles.

Waymo is complaining that California rules for purely self driving taxi services must be, for now, for free.

Waymo blames the media for overhyping self driving cars.  (hahahaha)

Waymo will deliver parts by self driving cars to repair shops.

3d Printing:

3d printing coral could help reefs.

3d printing has been proposed for refugee shelters in Syria.

3d printed polymer concrete gets assessed.

A bioprinted pancreas is expected to be implanted within 5 years.

Bio inks can 3d print into implantable blood vessels.

A father/son team has 3d printed a Lamborghini.

Kent State 3d printed a sculpture that will be installed on Ellis Island.

The Kraken 3d printing system is huge, 6 meters by 8 meters.

Local Motors has teamed up Airbus to develop 3d printing for flying taxis.

Massive 3d printers are printing rockets.

NWU is developing HARP, a high speed, large sized 3d printer.

Open source bioprinting for cell cultures?

A pediatric surgeon 3d printed an aorta replacement valve.

Prusa i3s can 3d print with 316L stainless steel filaments.

Qrons is developing 3d printable implants to repair brain injuries.

Researchers have 3d printed bacterial cellulose for use in medicine.

SUTD has a new method of 3d printing chocolate without heating it.

WASP will 3d print structures in Bologna.

You can 3d print the Youbionic robotic arm at home.


Irobot is suing a startup.

MIT has developed BILL-E, a construction bot.

Biologically inspired skin increases robot senses.

A chameleon's tongue is inspiring new robots.

A new algorithm created by Ford and MIT helps robots find the front door.

Machines are learning to smell.

MIT is working to give robots a faster grasp.

OpenAI's robot hand can solve a rubics cube one handed.

People are likely to blame robots for workplace accidents, but only if the robots are autonomous.

A new robot is designed to "mimic" how plants grow when it moves.  This will allow it to move through tight spaces.

If you want a robot to learn better, be a 'jerk' to it.

A telepresence travel bot for the infirm.

University of Houston has developed a soft robot with a neurologic like system.

A UIUC robot has human-like reflexes.

University of Toronto roboticists have created a soft robot that moves like an inch worm.


Tilly Lockey spoke at the Singularity University summit.

A software bot can interpret a paralyzed person's mind sufficient to allow writing.

Software bots:

The US DOE is about to embark on a multibillion dollar AI push.

The US is urged to invest more in AI as China is catching up.

California's anti Deep Fake law is pretty weak sauce.

An AI pioneer wants his algorithms to understand WHY they make the decisions they make.

Adobe has added more 'AI' tools to Photoshop.

Chinese researchers are using software bots to improve 3d printing.

Deep3dFly is a software bot designed to create insect inspired UAVs.

Researcher Anca Dragan wants robots to understand humans.

Why are deep learning software bots so easy to trick?

Facebook's software bots can change a person's face enough in video to hide it from facial recognition software.

Google's DeepMind appears to be better at deciphering damaged Greek clay tablets than people are.

Google's DeepMind can now beat Grandmasters at Starcraft II.

Google's software bot training tool can speed up the process.

IBM believes AI will leave no job untouched.

Microsoft wants to use software bots to bleep out bad words in XBOX chat.

Microsoft previewed its no coding tools to create chatbots.

Microsoft's Cortana can now read your emails in IOS.

Nvidia's deep fake work continues with being able to transplant your pet's smile onto any other pet.

Nvidia's software bots will help the USPS sort mail faster.

OpenAI has released the software bot that can write disturbingly good fake news.

Pinterest has stated software bots have vastly reduced the self harm content on the website.

USC has been using software bots to study how people react to music.

Wells Fargo stated big banks will automate away 200,000 jobs by 2030.

Software bots are being used in botany to study leaves.

Software bots can identify collapsed lungs from Xrays.

Software bots can help small holder corn growing.

Software bots can warn about drug-drug interactions.

Software bots can detect diabetic eye disease.

Software bots can't compete with humans in Angry Birds yet.

Software bots for health care discriminated against black people.

Software bots will soon study human feces.

A software bot can analyze whether you are confused or nervous.

There is also a bird watching software bot.

Software bots have been using CT scans to learn muscle anatomy.

Software bots are being used to predict whether a cancer patient should use immunotherapy.

Software bots are being used to study RNA/protein interactions.

Software bots can make realistic characters in 3d.

Software bots can make better ozone warnings.

Software bots can also give fashion advice.

Software bots are good at picking out catalytic properties when examining xrays.

Software bots are able to detect what the brain likes to see.

A software bot 'figured out' the earth orbits the sun.

Software bots could help diagnose canine disorders.

Software bots are learning to design structures.

There is an attempt to predict where lightning will strike with software bots.

Facial recognition bots can be fooled by a shirt?!  Antagonistic design may be a real thing.

Some startups are writing software to watch the bots.

A new technique can make software bots understand videos better.


A software bot included in a cytometer detects rare cells in the blood.

Hackers might have compromised a hotel that uses robots and watched guests through bedside robots.

Software bots are being used to improve beam quality at LBNL's Advanced Light Source.


The robopocalypse is underway.  It's just happening quietly.

Worker pay is stagnant and economists are blaming the robopocalypse.

The US has blacklisted Chinese AI researchers from getting visas.

40% of the money given out in an experiment of universal basic income was spent on food, clothing and other basic necessities.

US Presidential candidate Andrew Yang is stating robots are taking our jobs.  Is he wrong?

Friday, November 08, 2019

China to Launch Lunar Sample Return Mission in Late 2020

China is aiming to launch its complex Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission in late 2020, following launch vehicle-related delays.

The ambitious mission is now scheduled to launch atop the fifth Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket. The mission will launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center situated on Hainan island.

Chang’e-5 will attempt to collect and return around two kilograms of lunar samples from a site close to Mons Rümker, a volcanic formation situated in the Oceanus Procellarum region of western edge of the near side of the moon.

The mission will involve the first robotic lunar orbit rendezvous. After the lander collects samples, an ascent vehicle will liftoff and dock with an orbiter module above the moon. A return capsule will then perform a ‘skip reentry’ following separation from the orbiter close to Earth. The return capsule will deliver the samples to the same site as where the country’s Shenzhou crewed missions land.

The complexity of the mission is considered by observers to be related future crewed lunar landing ambitions. The last lunar sample return, the Soviet Union’s 1976 Luna 24 mission, utilised a much simpler direct return approach.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Russia may Help With India's Gaganyaan Space Capsule

Glavkosmos JSC, part of Roscosmos State Space Corporation, and Human Space Flight Centre of Indian Space Research Organization (HSFC of ISRO) on Friday signed a contract to review a project to assess the possibility of using Russian flight equipment in life support systems and providing thermal regime for the manned spacecraft Gaganyaan.

Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos, and Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair, Head of the HSFC, signed the contract. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Deputy Director General for international cooperation of Roscosmos State Space Corporation Sergey Savelyev.

"We hope that the signing of this document and the implementation of its provisions will serve both the development of the Indian space program and manned space flights, and in general the further strengthening of good Russian-Indian relations," Loskutov said. "We will be glad to expand our cooperation."