DARPA Gremlins advance reusable drone technology, North Carolina plans UAS workshops for public safety agencies, Seaglider underwater drones set to explore Antarctic ice shelves, fuel cell propulsion systems will be integrated into the ScanEagle, and medical package delivery drones are successful in Africa.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Gremlins program envisions small, reusable drones that can be launched from a C-130 inflight to surveil or attack targets as much as 300 miles away. The Gremlins then return to their flying airbase and are flown back to home base where there are prepared for their next mission.
In Phase 2, DARPA will review Gremlin prototypes from Dynetics and General Atomics. In Phase 3 DARPA will select one of the two prototypes for a “full-scale technology demonstration system” that will be test-flown in 2019.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is planning free UAS/Drone workshops for public safety agencies. The purpose of the workshops is to educate agencies on the safe and beneficial uses of drones, provide updates on the latest federal and state regulations, and provide best practices for safe operations and data management. The Operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in North Carolina web page contains a downloadable 47-page safety guide [PDF] and an online knowledge test.
The University of Washington in Seattle is planning to use seven underwater robots to explore an Antarctic ice shelf. Three Seaglider self-propelled drones “swim” by adjusting their buoyancy and using mechanic “wings.” The Seaglider Fabrication Center, a division of the School of Oceanography in the College of the Environment, provides Deepgliders™, Seagliders™, operator training, and glider refurbishment. Under a license agreement with Kongsberg Underwater Technologies, Inc. (KUTI), the University can only produce Seagliders for customers inside the University of Washington.
Earth Under Water is a 45 minute National Geographic program that looks at the worldwide rise in sea levels.
Maybe. The Aviation Acorn treads a bit into the realm of The Onion.
Ballard Power Systems is working with Insitu to develop a next-generation fuel cell propulsion system for the ScanEagle UAS. The 1.3-kilowatt system for small unmanned fixed-wing and vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) drones will be integrated into the ScanEagle platform.
As an update to our report in Episode 146 about medical package delivery in Rwanda, we see that the Rwandan health ministry has delivered more than 5,500 units of blood over the past year using Zipline drones. Delivery times to remote regions of Rwanda have been cut from four hours to an average of half an hour. Now Zipline plans to launch what it claims is the world’s largest drone delivery network, working with the government of Tanzania.
UAV Video of the Week
This video shows how medical package deliveries with Zipline drones save lives in Rwanda.