Robotics Education Journal


The editorial points out that a kind of “AI arms race” is underway that is heavily funded by both governments and corporations, and the reason is that AI is projected to add approximately US$15 trillion to the world economy by 2030.  By all accounts, China and the U.S. are focused not on ethics and codes of practice so much as they are on the competition to develop the most powerful AI resources.  However, this apparent gap is being filled by France, Germany and Japan, whose national research agencies have called for research proposals on “AI that incorporates an ethical dimension.” In addition, the U.K. has created a center for data ethics and innovation.  Meanwhile, officials from Canada and France were said to have been working on launching an International Panel on Artificial Intelligence (IPAI) in discussions at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 24 – 26.

For more details, please see the editorial at


As reported by Stephen Shankland of CNET, Wong offered a number of directions for future progress:
--New technology will make transistors faster and smaller.
--A handful of new memory technologies will be built directly into processors instead of connected as separate chips.
--3D stacking technology will mean computer processor functions that are isolated today can be sandwiched into multiple layers, linked with high-speed data pathways.

Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET.  For further details, please click here.


The AtlasPRO was flown along the perimeter of the Maracanã Stadium, one of the largest stadiums in South America, during the tournament’s final series. The AtlasPRO system was used in both single and multi-UAS missions to gather data on public safety hazards and facilitate emergency response.  Also shown is the Atlas Blue-J fixed wing drone.  For details, visit the

08/01/2019 notes that “…[R]esearcher Samir Bouabdallah at EPFL and ETH Zurich, has come up with an inventive propulsion system modelled after those used by helicopters. His design, marketed through his start-up Flybotix, uses just two propellers and an algorithm-based stabilization mechanism, giving his drones ‘the aerodynamic performance of a helicopter and the mechanical stability of a quadcopter.’”  The design is less complex than traditional quadcopter planforms, reducing maintenance costs, and the larger blades are more efficient and less power consumptive than traditional configurations. For details, click here. Images courtesy of Flybotix via


In the most impressive show yet, hundreds of companies from dozens of countries showed off the latest in robots, machine intelligence and AI-driven platforms across commercial and military domains.  Xponential 2019 also offered a large variety of educational programming, seminars and workshops. Captions are in the order of posted images.

Aion Robotics,

Airborne Innovations LLC.,

Ascent Vision,


Boeing Company, The,


EarthSense 2019 TerraSentia,

Griffon Aerospace,


NAVMAR Applied Sciences Corp.,

Robotic Research,

Sinclair National UAS Center,

Sky Power GmbH,

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory,



Photos by Lucien Miller, CEO of; image editing and captions by Tom Atwood, executive director of The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF). © 2019



In recent years, there has been a belief articulated in various corners of the military that lethal robots must have a human in the decision-making loop. This report suggests that attitudes are beginning to change. “It was only a matter of time.” Photos of U.S. armed UGV courtesy of Military&Aerospace Electronics, photo of Russian Uran-9 courtesy of C4RISRNET.  For details, please click here.


Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics, the Unmanned Systems News (USN), in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.


The TS3 can enable your robot to avoid people, pets and other dynamic objects in busy environments, and it can reliably map its surroundings with minimal processing overhead.  Learn more at


A Washington Post article notes that customers have brought up the question of human displacement.  However, restauranteurs maintain that jobs will be protected in the face of rising automation.  It is a thorny and complex issue. For more details on the restaurant bots, please click here.

Captain Crabs is located approximately 10 miles southwest of Wilmington, Delaware.  Photo courtesy of Robot Captain Crabs Cajun Seafood & Bar, via the Washington Post.


In June, reported that, “Raytheon has extensively tested a counter drone laser, successfully shooting down 50-odd drones up to the size of the Chinese-built quadcopters, using a 10kW High Energy Laser mounted on a Polaris MRZR so the system can be used in austere environments such as forward air bases. It can be programed with a specific set of rules of engagements to limit collateral damage and help ensure flight safety.”

News update and drone image courtesy of Breakingdefense[dot]com, via Unmanned Systems News (USN) by David Place.
Polaris photo courtesy of

Our thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics, the Unmanned Systems News (USN), in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.

06/29/2019 quotes Dr. Travis Deyle, Cobalt CEO: "Our goal is to combine the best parts of machines (unwavering attention, perfect recall, & super-human sensing) with the best aspects of people (warmth, responsiveness, and adaptability) to create service robots that dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone and fundamentally redefine the modern workplace." Photo courtesy of Cobalt Robotics via Google Images.



Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz

1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM (depending on model)

2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
Gigabit Ethernet

2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.

Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)

2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)

2-lane MIPI DSI display port

2-lane MIPI CSI camera port

4-pole stereo audio and composite video port

H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)

OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics

Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage

5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)

5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)

Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

* A good quality 2.5A power supply can be used if downstream USB peripherals consume less than 500mA in total.

For details, please click here.




This initiative is part of a DJI 10-point plan intended to to “ensure the world’s skies remain safe in the drone era,” and was originally reported by


Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.




As reported by, ESAero’s proposal, “Validation of UAM Dynamics Modeling Tool Suite Using Scaled Modular Aerial Research Testbed,” will comprehensively address a gap in knowledge due to a lack of publicly available datasets for the dynamic handling qualities of UAM and eVTOL aircraft powered by all-electric or hybrid-electric propulsion systems.

ESAero will develop the Scaled Modular Aerial Research Testbed (SMART) vehicle to allow installation of modular vertical lift systems with modules representing common UAM aircraft configurations. The “as-built” vehicle characteristics and flight test data of three different UAM configurations will be provided as deliverables at the conclusion of the effort, enabling validation of UAM and rotorcraft dynamic tools suites specifically designed for eVTOL.

This will include the results of the Phase I work, which is a comprehensive tool suite for the quantitative assessment of UAM aircraft ride qualities with respect to passenger comfort.  Image courtesy of ES AERO.  For more information, please visit


The aforementioned conclusions were published in the advisory MIT Technology Review ©2019 about environmental consequences of AI models.  AI researchers have suspected such environmental impacts for years. “While probably many of us have thought of this in an abstract, vague level, the figures really show the magnitude of the problem,” says Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez, a computer scientist at the University of A Coruña in Spain, who was not involved in the research. “Neither I nor other researchers I’ve discussed them with thought the environmental impact was that substantial.” The findings raise an important question: are there viable mitigation strategies that should be pursued?


As stated on Dronelife, “Here is how the giveaway works:

• Step 1: Visit the contest page, click “Enter now,” and sign up for your free IBM Cloud to be in the running.

• Step 2: On Tuesdays between now and June 16, 2019, watch the IBM Developer Twitch channel and check your email. Each week, we’ll randomly select a group of winners who will receive a DJI Tello drone, full access to code patterns for drone programming, and a nice surprise or two.

• Step 3: Code something amazing with open source patterns. Complete a series of challenges, using tools like Node-RED and IBM Watson Visual Recognition, Watson IoT, IBM Cloud, and IBM Data and Analytics, to create a drone application that makes a difference in your community. Showcase your work on social using #IBMDroneDrop.”

For details, please visit: IBM Developer Drone Giveaway



AerialX, a six-year-old company based in Vancouver, British Columbia offers a patent-pending solution for ridding the sky of hostile UAVs when the need to act is urgent. As reported at, the 910-gram DroneBullet is a highly maneuverable quadcopter multirotor with a 4-kilometer range and a speed approaching 220mph in a dive attack.  DroneBullet approaches and then locks onto the target drone, then uses its own kinetic energy to knock it out of the sky by ramming it.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.


As announced by, “The U.S. Army Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aviation’s Project Manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, partnered with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence to identify and prototype new drone capabilities with commercial companies that specialize in on-demand, “eye in the sky” technologies…

In this process, the U.S. Army is partnering with the Pentagon’s internal startup accelerator to adapt small commercial drones for the battlefield. Parrot, the leading European drone group, is one of the 6 companies[1] that have met the standards set in the solicitation issued in November 2018[2] to develop and prototype the next generation of small-unit surveillance drone.”

For details, please click here.

Our thanks to Monica England of Planck Aero and who is AUVSI San Diego Lindbergh Chapter President for her assistance with this news update.




In the big picture, Boeing is maintaining its leadership aviation role developing advanced urban aircraft technologies for a new world in which autonomous systems will simplify transportation in crowded urban environments.  This will keep passengers of all ages pleasantly occupied—plans foresee immersive broadband internet access that will permit work or play while commuters are on the way.  As reported by, “In the coming months, Boeing will continue to advance the development of the CAV with flight testing focused on forward flight, loads analysis and vehicle performance.”  Lead image courtesy of Boeing via Commercial Drone Professional; 2nd & 3rd CAV photos via

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes that are mixed in, from which this news update was sourced. To subscribe, simply email David a subscribe request. If you have the time, please note you learned of this subscription opportunity, here, and thank you for reading NREF robotics and AI news updates!




Theoretical computational scientist Kenneth Reagan had found that human chess players assisted by computers could outplay humans or computers playing on their own.  Reagan called the player-computer teams “centaurs”, suggesting a certain battle prowess, and the approach, itself, was dubbed “freestyle chess.” argues that freestyle chess is the strategy our military plans to use in the event of a global war. That said, the concept is being reviewed and tested by the military via the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.


Aergility Atlis Cargo UAV  
Larry Yonge, Aergility VP, R&D, notes in the video that Jim came to him with the idea, and he carefully reviewed the patent application Jim had submitted and the technical aspects. The aircraft is formally named the Aergility Atlis Cargo UAV, and its advantages over other VTOL designs include simplicity: “It’s just got rotating things, no control surfaces.”  The multirotor features long range with low maintenance, because it uses a gas engine. Aergility refers to this technology as “Managed Autorotation.”  The gas-powered prop provides all the energy that propels it forward.

Jim comments that they had a vision for different sizes and so they built a scale version to prove out the technology.  They first checked out the design on simulators, then validated the simulations on a coaxial static test stand, to test thrust, torque, current and all the parameters of the speed controller, rotors and motors.  Next, they mounted a test stand on a truck to measure aerodynamic performance at 70 mph.  They then flew a quarter scale model with a maximum gross weight of about 55 lbs. at a flight speed of 70mph.  Power was provided only by the propulsion engine, not the rotors, to prove the autorotation concept. 

When scaled up, Aergility envisions an autonomous UAV that will go from point A to point B hauling a 400-lb. cargo at over 100mph, with a range of multiple hundreds of miles on a single tank of fuel.  Jim excitedly notes in the video that the possibilities may not even be imaginable at present given the potential to autonomously transport a significant payload at relatively low cost. Photo of Aergility Atlis at Xponential 2019 by Lucien Miller of Innov8tive Designs; illustrations courtesy of Aergility; photo of Aergility prototype with Scorpion brushless pusher motor taken by Bobby Watts of Watts Innovations.
For Aergility Atlis Cargo UAV details, please click here.



One of the most impressive exhibits at Xponential 2019 was the mockup of a full-scale multirotor, the Bell Nexus, that will autonomously shuttle people in the future.  The Bell Nexus fans are far quieter than helicopter blades, a major requirement in future inner-city aerial transportation. Nexus fans incorporate curved blade tips with the distance between blade tips and the contoured shroud carefully designed to minimize operational noise. A Bell engineer said the first prototype could be test flown within two years. This futuristic vehicle may be a commonplace within decades, a glimpse of future urban life. We will tell you more after next year’s Xponential 2020, May 4-7, in Boston!

Standing at the Xponential 2019 show entrance is NREF photojournalist Mark Essenburg, photo courtesy of Lucien Miller of Innov8tive Designs. Images of the Bell Nexus interior and its fan blades tilting forward by Monica England of Planck Aero and who is AUVSI San Diego Lindbergh Chapter President. Nexus front and side views, cabin and fan detail, by Tom Atwood, NREF Executive Director.


As reported by, the new CUBERG electrolyte is thermally stable and provides greater power density even if other items in the drone are overheating. The batteries are said to be far safer than traditional Li-ion technology, and they can be manufactured using current manufacturing techniques.  “Critically, the electrolyte is able to be introduced into current lithium-ion battery making processes.”  CUBERG was founded on research by Stanford students, who went on to finish their studies. In April, the company was awarded $1.57 million in grants from the California Energy Commission to scale up production.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.



During testing, RoCycle demonstrated 85% accuracy when identifying and sorting the three materials from a fixed position. Accuracy decreased to 63% when RoCycle collected items from a moving conveyor belt. Material type can be very difficult to distinguish optically, and is more easily identified tactilely. “Computer vision alone will not be able to solve the problem of giving machines human-like perception, so being able to use tactile input is of vital importance,” MIT professor Daniela Rus said. The research will be presented later this month at the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics in Seoul, South Korea. To contact the author of this article, email
Story and images courtesy of Marie Donlon, and MIT and Yale universities, courtesy of Engineering360, IEEE Global Spec


The KUB is potentially a mass-marketed product that may become widely used by countries worldwide owing simply to effectiveness and cheap pricing based on economies of scale. Traditional air defenses cannot combat swarms of this category of lightweight drone, and defenses to this new threat will have to be invented.  This puts a keen priority on defenses against killer drones—that is to say, it will be critically important for countries to develop means to defend against, and defeat, swarming UAVs approaching from above.   The next chapter in drone warfare will see counter-drone technology as the growing priority in defense budgets, worldwide. Photo credit: Zala Aero Group via Youtube, and Kalashnikov.  Story courtesy of


As reported at,"If at first you don't succeed, you try again," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at SpaceIL's control center in Yehud, Israel. Story and image courtesy of


Beresheet will orbit Earth, gradually increasing its apogee until it can maneuver to be captured by the Moon's gravity. It will travel to the Moon's surface under its own power, a voyage taking nearly two months.  SpaceIL's four-legged lunar spacecraft, which was competing in the Google Lunar XPrize, will be the smallest spacecraft to land on the Moon, at only 180 kg. Once it has completed its mission, Beresheet will represent Israel's first spacecraft and the world's first privately funded spacecraft to reach the Moon. Its mission is to transmit photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements. Upon the mission's completion, it will remain as a lunar time capsule commemorating this historic accomplishment. Images in order:
1. Beresheet Moon Capture,
2. Beresheet Earth photo April 5, 2019,
3. Prelaunch Beresheet with Engineers,
4. Beresheet Earth View Selfie,
5. Beresheet detail,
6. Beresheet Laser RetroreflectorArray,
7. 3D printed bracket from RUAG Space holds the lunar lander engine, all photos courtesy of RUAG. 

For more details, please click here.

See also, Times of Israel report.  


New products include the C200 Bin-Carrying Robot Shuttle System, Autonomous Forklifts, and the OpenBox System, a SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) navigation system for autonomous point-to-point deliveries.  Lit Fung, Managing Director and Michael Hao, President, will be available for interviews at ProMat in Chicago, April 8-11. For more information, please click here.  Images courtesy of Geek+. Our thanks for the assistance of Frank Tobe, consultant and founder of The Robot Report, and co-founder of ROBO Global, in the preparation of this news update.


Andreas Raptopoulos, Founder & CEO, Matternet “Together with UPS, we aim to shift the status quo for on-demand logistics for healthcare systems in the U.S. through drone delivery networks. Our technology allows hospital systems to transport medical items at an unprecedented level of speed and predictability, resulting in improved patient care and operational savings. We are excited to work with our partners to breathe new life into healthcare logistics, and help establish a new layer of ultra-fast, predictable transportation.” Photos courtesy of Matternet. For details, please click here.



Locker notes this robot, well on in development, will “become a tireless warehouse worker who never needs a bathroom break, won’t form a union, and will never ask for a raise.”  For details, please visit the report here.


Final results from a study carried out by the German research firm Drone Industry Insights will be presented at the Commercial UAV Expo Europe, to be held April 8 – 10 at the Amsterdam Congress Centre. For details, please click here.



03/23/2019 reported that the system provides a “better type of reconnaissance in inspection and surveillance information” in places where humans should never go.  The Guardian S carries six 4K cameras that record details of the environment, as shown on YouTube.  The human operator uses a tray-style controller with a large display. “We are really focused on the part of robotics that is about human augmentation, as opposed to human replacement,” says Fraser Smith, president and co-founder of Sarcos Robotics.  Images courtesy of Sarcos Robotics.


A major force in Thai Robotics, Dr. Laowattana is a highly respected expert in the fields of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. In this trenchant interview, Tom explores future directions in robotics and AI in Thailand and Asia with Dr. Laowattana. For details, please click here.


As noted in the announcement on PR Wire, Drone Delivery Systems will offer ASW autonomous commercial delivery drones powered by “the hardware standard for open source autopilots… With DroneCare's integration into the AirBox ecosystem, recipients around the world will know that their drone deliveries are being conducted with certified, reliable, and safe drones for years to come.”  Learn more about ASW, here.


The robot drones, weighing under under 200 grams each, will monitor battlefields as well as terrorism suspects before troops are on-site.  They are scheduled for deployment to Estonia, Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of this year.  3D drone fleet illustration courtesy of Chesky W/ Getty Images via CNBC.  Click here for details.


FEDOR displays amazing accuracy in a demonstration of two-fisted gunplay in the YouTube videos.  

The footage was posted on the Twitter page of Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.  FEDOR is being developed to support exploration of the Moon and Mars.  The video also shows FEDOR using tools and driving a car.  The executive director of the FEDOR project noted his team has since begun sourcing or fabricating their own versions of motors, sensors, cameras, computers and other parts previously supplied by Western firms. Report details can be found, here.   Photos courtesy of the FEDOR project via


In this episode, Mark Levin explains how cyber threats can potentially undermine and destroy space, link, user and ground segments of our and our allies’ space systems.  He delves into anti-satellite (ASAT) missile technology and the extent to which the Chinese PLA has already deployed initial battle-ready systems. Full disclosure: Blaze TV is a pay-for-view subscription service we are not associated with in any way, but is available at arguably very reasonable rates. For details, please click here.


The drone is the well-known Schiebel Camcopter© S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS).   The Camcopter CS-100 is shown prior to both nighttime and day-time BVLOS pipeline inspection flights in Nigeria.  The VTOL Camcopter requires no prepared area or supporting equipment for launch and recovery, and operates in adverse weather conditions with a BVLOS capability said to extend out to 200 km, over land and sea. For more detail on Kongsberg Geospatial, please visit  For more on this news story, see the Kongsberg Geospatial press release via PR Web. photo credit: Schiebel


The photos in this sequence show hardware and current sampling work, in the order listed:

Photo 1 reveals the scale of the spacecraft as workers assemble the faring, image courtesy of JAXA.
Photo 2 itemizes Hayabusa-2 components as viewed from above, and Photo 3 as viewed from below. Courtesy of JAXA.
Photo 4 reveals the Minerva rovers, courtesy JAXA, via
Photo 5 shows the Mascot rover’s design, courtesy of the German Aerospace Center.
Photo 6 is a close-up of the metallic “bullet” that was shot into the asteroid, via
Photo 7 is an image of Hayabusa’s shadow on Ryugu, circa 2018.
Photo 8 depicts the Hayabusa sampler horn that will collect material for return in 2020. Image courtesy of JAXA.
Photo 9 shows a triumphant team of mission scientists in the control room, Sagamihara, Japan; image courtesy of AFP. 

This research may help us better understand whether asteroid impacts seeded the earth in a fashion favorable to the evolution of life. NREF will continue monitoring this historic mission and will keep you posted—stay tuned! This is your website; please feel free to email NREF with suggestions and/or comments anytime.  Executive director, Thomas Atwood, tatwood[at]the-nref[dot]org.    


The chain’s automated restaurant warehouses will operate in temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius (32 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit), which is too cold for rats and cockroaches to survive, noted company Chief Information Officer Shao Zhidong.  The smart store approach will employ around 140 human servers, or 30 fewer than branches of similar sizes before automating, in turn cutting labor costs by approximately 17%. Report and images courtesy of


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) posted a rule in the Federal Register requiring small drone owners to display the FAA-issued registration number on an outside surface of the aircraft. Owners and operators may no longer place or write registration numbers in an interior compartment. The rule is effective on February 25. The markings must be in place for any flight after that date.

When the FAA first required registration of small drones in 2015, the agency mandated that the registration marking be readily accessible and maintained in readable condition. The rule granted some flexibility by permitting the marking to be placed in an enclosed compartment, such as a battery case, if it could be accessed without the use of tools.

Subsequently, law enforcement officials and the FAA’s interagency security partners have expressed concerns about the risk a concealed explosive device might pose to first responders upon opening a compartment to find a drone’s registration number. The FAA believes this action will enhance safety and security by allowing a person to view the unique identifier directly without handling the drone.

This interim final rule does not change the original acceptable methods of external marking, nor does it specify a particular external surface on which the registration number must be placed. The requirement is that it can be seen upon visual inspection of the aircraft’s exterior.

The FAA has issued this requirement as an Interim Final Rule—a rule that takes effect while also inviting public comment. The FAA issues interim final rules when delaying implementation of the rule would be impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. In this case, the agency has determined the importance of mitigating the risk to first responders outweighs the minimal inconvenience this change may impose on small drone owners, and justifies implementation without a prior public comment period.

The FAA will consider comments from the public on this Interim Final Rule, and will then review any submissions to determine if the provisions of the ultimate Final Rule should be changed. The 30-day comment period will end on March 15, 2019. To submit comments, go to and search for “RIN 2120-AL32.”

As Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao promised last month, the FAA also posted proposed new rules to let drones fly routinely at night and over people, and to further integrate them safely into the nation’s airspace. The comment period for these proposals is now open and ends on April 15.





This is the first time that authorization has been given to a commercial UAS company to operate at MCAS Miramar’s Autonomous Vehicle Proving Ground (AVPG). On any given day or night, the airspace includes fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft performing training flights, including the C-130, V-22, CH-53E, AV- 8B, F/A-18 and F-35B.

“This type of testing is critically important to prove that small UAS can safely be operated in close proximity to a high volume of military air traffic, which will continue to be the case as small UAS become proliferated more widely with operating forces,” said Josh Wells, CEO and Co-Founder of Planck Aerosystems and former US Navy Pilot. “Through close coordination with Air Traffic Control leads from the Marine Corps, we were able to demonstrate that our technology could perform safe, autonomous missions, from moving vehicles, in national airspace - not only during the day but also at night. The team from MCAS Miramar and Marine Corps Installations Command is leaning forward and breaking down barriers to adoption of advanced new solutions that enhance capabilities for surveillance, reconnaissance, real-time situational awareness, and force protection within DOD.”

Planck Aero’s products open a new world of possibilities in UAS operations for both commercial
and government organizations.  For more information, please visit

Thanks to Monica England, Monica[at]planckaero[dot]com and CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this news report.



The order comes 2 years following China’s declaration that it intends to become a global AI leader. According to The Hill, the order does not direct Congress to appropriate any new funds for AI programs. Rather, federal agencies are to take the lead in setting aside more money and resources for AI development. Photo credit: Chris Kleponis /Getty Images.  The Hill’s news update can be read, here.


“CB Insights’ third annual cohort of AI 100 startups is a list of 100 of the most promising private companies providing hardware and data infrastructure for AI applications, optimizing machine learning workflows, and applying AI across a variety of major industries.” Get the free download, here.


Popular Mechanics reports that the drone is designed to hit ground targets in support of manned aircraft, and to destroy headquarters units and their defenses. provided the size comparison between the Sukhoi S-70 and Okhotnick-B variant, and notes that the first flight of the Hunter is expected in 2019. Ground photos courtesy of VK/Military Informant, via Popular Mechanics. 

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

Please note: David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request.



The robot used the self-simulator internally to “contemplate and adapt to different situations, handling new tasks as well as detecting and repairing damage in its own body.” Photos show a time-lapse composite image of a “damaged” robot arm performing pick and place, and the undamaged arm successfully placing objects in a tray.  Next steps reportedly include having the robot simulate and contemplate its own thinking process, which would appear to be a significant step toward machine sentience. The study was DARPA supported. Images courtesy of ROBERT KWIATKOWSKI/COLUMBIA ENGINEERING.

For the fascinating details, please see


and Science Robotics.


The report noted that Starship Technologies is partnering with food-and-facilities-management company Sodexo. In the January 22nd edition of The Washington Post, Peter Holley reported that George Mason University has received 25 mobile robots designed to deliver meals to students and faculty.  Holley noted that each mobile robot can haul a food payload of up to 20 pounds and make deliveries in 15 minutes or less. 

George Mason is reportedly the first campus in the country to incorporate robots into its student dining plan and has the largest fleet of delivery roots on any university campus.  The cost per delivery: $1.99.  

Photo credits:
1. (on-road robots) Starship Technologies;
2. (Starship interior view);
3. (Fleet group photo);
4. (3/4 portrait view of Starship) AUVSI.


DARPA’s synopsis: “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is issuing an Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) opportunity inviting submissions of innovative basic research concepts exploring new computational frameworks and strategies drawn from the impressive computational capabilities of very small flying insects for whom evolutionary pressures have forced scale/size/energy reduction without loss of performance.”  Illustration: A locust is fitted with an electro-implant to monitor neural activity signaling odorant detection (photo courtesy Huy Mach/AP, from NewsMax,  Review the solicitation, here.


"The NREC gantry supports a 55-foot-long, 24-ton arm that is about 20 feet above the ground. A carriage suspended from the arm will have two hoists for picking up, transporting and positioning concrete blocks so they can be tied together with wire to create the mats. Each concrete “square” is 25 feet-long, four-feet-wide and three inches thick and weighs 3,600 pounds.

…The Corps of Engineers’ ARMOR 1 final prototype robot will dwarf this current test system. It will have six of the 55-foot arms for moving concrete squares. The assembly barge will measure 180 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, said Gabriel Goldman, technical lead for the project at NREC. It will produce mats with 35 rows of concrete squares."  Photos courtesy of CMU/NREC.  For the full story, please click here.


Interestingly, as reported by The National Interest Blog, Robots will team with other robots on the battlefield.  “While the Army is planning on creating heavier, faster, and more heavily armed and armored M2A4 and M2A5 models of the Bradley, it is also set to begin a competition late in 2019 for an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, (or Next Generation Combat Vehicle) to succeed it. …The new robotic combat vehicles may themselves deploy their own small flying drones to scout ahead for enemy forces.”

Semi-autonomous vehicles can be remote controlled by a human operator but also programmed to perform particular tasks autonomously. Letting such machines operate lethal weapons independent of human oversight has always been a red line for those debating the ethics of war, as mobile “robotic” weapons that have the ability to search and destroy on their own are considered to be a different kind of weapons system than traditional arms.  As the cliché goes, nobody wants to unleash the first “Terminator”.  The debate may get more complicated for some when one considers fire-and-forget smart bombs. In any case, the rise of semi-autonomous fighting machines is well underway.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


As witnessed by a gathering full of drone enthusiasts and professionals, and reported December 19 at,  the Forvola Mega Drone took flight and remained airborne at a little over 1 meter for one minute and three seconds carrying a weight of 101kgs.

“Mission Accomplished”, declared the official from the Guinness World Record to a resounding applause and satisfaction from members of both the tech teams. The previous record belonged to the University of Oslo, Norway, whose drone lifted about 61kg. for 37 seconds in 2015. Find details of the latest record flight at this link. For details on the Forvola Mega Drone specifications, which has a staggering top-end payload capacity of 200 Kg, please visit


Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

Note to site visitors: David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!



“That’s an enormous difference,” says Jon Bornstein of Amprius. Silicon hairs shown in the photo swell and shrink without damage during charge and discharge. The report notes that this new development could lead to improved electric power systems for manned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) transport systems. Initial cells are “very expensive,” Bornstein admits, but as production volume grows he expects them to be close to cost parity with conventional lithium-ion cells by the mid-2020s, when the urban air mobility market is forecast to take off. This development bodes well for numerous robotics, AI and other e-applications.

12/07/2018 noted: “DARPA tested the technology during a recent three-week series of exercises at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The CODE systems, which included as many as six live and 24 virtual drones, collaborated to navigate, search, and engage both pre-planned and pop-up targets. According to a Nov. 19 release from the agency, the CODE-equipped systems demonstrated an ability to “adapt and respond to unexpected threats in an anti-access area denial environment.” This included preventing communications and GPS signals.

“When communications were degraded or denied, CODE vehicles were able to maintain their mission plan and accomplish mission objectives without direction from humans, the agency said.”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

Note to viewers: David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here.



The team flew the plane a distance of 60 meters in a large, sweeping arc in 10 trials at MIT's duPont Athletic Center. "This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system," said Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. "This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions."

"It took a long time to get here," Barrett says. "Going from the basic principle to something that actually flies was a long journey of characterizing the physics, then coming up with the design and making it work. Now the possibilities for this kind of propulsion system are viable."  The flight required an incredible 40,000 volts of electricity—enough to strip electrons from nitrogen atoms in the ambient atmosphere.  Images courtesy of MIT news video.

For additional details on the physics of these groundbreaking flight tests, please visit:

MIT News,

Nature, International journal of science, Haofeng Xu et al. Flight of an aeroplane with solid-state propulsion, Nature(2018).



Jane’s notes, “The weapon is manufactured by KBP Instrument Design Bureau, Tula, and is driven by an electric motor, enabling a standard rate of fire of 6,000 rds/min, although this can be lowered to 3,500 rds/min to conserve ammunition. It features a muzzle velocity of 850 m/s with a claimed effective range of up to 1,000 m.”  Read more about the vehicle at


PC Magazine reports that China's state-run Xinhua News Agency has announced that it will be using "composite anchors" to read the news, which combines artificial intelligence with synthesized voices to create puppet-like newsreaders. The artificial newsreaders are based on real-life reporters, and could help with 24-hour news cycles.

The machine-learning program makes it possible for the artificial newsreader to copy lip movements and facial expressions in time with the story it's reading, according to the South China Morning Post. News reports are fed into the system uninterrupted, meaning these newsreaders could theoretically operate 24-7.


As reported by the, the system must carry between 500 and 1,000 pounds to outfit up to a 15-Marine unit. While the main objective is for the vehicle to move with the squad through inconsistent terrain, a nice bonus would be if it could manage intra-squad resupply. 

Of four prototypes now in contention, one is tracked and one uses "tweels" for locomotion, as the photos show.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.




Harbour.Space is an international private university based in Barcelona, Spain, that combines entrepreneurship, technology and design.  We offer innovative university degrees taught in English by industry leaders from around the world.  Our students develop the assets they need to shape the world of tomorrow.

This year, we’ve partnered with Remy Robotics, the latest project from technology investment group Kinetic, to offer top students the unique opportunity to study at Harbour.Space in our Master’s Robotics program. This includes a full scholarship, in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Those who undergo this experience will spend a year they will never forget.

The program begins in January 7, 2019. Deadline for applying is November 12, 2018.

The scholarship value is €34,900 (approximately $40,018.00 USD), and it includes:
• Complete coverage of the University tuition fee (€22,900)
• Living allowance (€1,000 per month during 1 year)
• Internship at Remy Robotics (20h per week during 1 year)

Harbour.Space’s Robotics Program

Harbour.Space’s Robotics program is the bridge between a personal interest in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a top-level professional future in one of the most exciting and fastest growing fields of technology.

The HSU Robotics Program will provide students with:
• The knowledge they require to understand the framework around computational systems, how these systems interact with the physical environment, and how these systems function in, relate to, and can be used to improve human society.
• The practice they need to build on this knowledge. Students will study at the University and then apply their knowledge when they work for 4 hours a day.
• The door to connect with, and eventually become, industry leaders of the future.
• The experience that will change their lives. Barcelona is a thriving entrepreneurial hotspot on the coast of Spain and a gorgeous city at the heart of Europe’s international culture.

Program Prerequisites and Requirements

The Harbour.Space is defined by excellence.
Our community is comprised of some of the foremost robotics and AI leaders of our time. The winners of our Robotics program scholarship will be no different.

Candidates are not required to have previous experience in robotics—however, they are strongly encouraged to have backgrounds in either mathematical or technology related disciplines, preferably physics, engineering, and computer/data science.

We welcome motivated individuals—technology enthusiasts who can work effectively both in teams as well as in isolation, individuals who have the humility and the passion to learn when they don’t know, and who have the drive to step up and lead when it is asked of them.

How to Apply

The application deadline is November 12th, 2018.

To apply for the scholarship, please visit this page.
Once you have submitted it, we will contact you with more information about how to proceed.

If you have any questions about our Robotics program, please feel free to contact Harbour.Space University at




As reported at, “The signals from those aircraft can be delivered directly back to the brain so that the brain of that user [or pilot] can also perceive the environment,” said Sanchez.  It’s taken a number of years to try and figure this out.
“In essence, it’s the difference between having a brain joystick and having a real telepathic conversation with multiple jets or drones about what’s going on, what threats might be flying over the horizon, and what to do about them.”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.



The Daily Beast reported: “The mind-controlled drone trials took place in Pittsburgh between June 2016 and January 2017, according to DARPA. ‘Using a bidirectional neural interface, a volunteer named Nathan Copeland was able to simultaneously steer a simulated lead aircraft and maintain formation of two, simulated unmanned support aircraft in a flight simulator,’ Tim Kilbride, a DARPA spokesperson, told The Daily Beast.

“Test-subject Copeland, who is partially paralyzed, never actually steered a real drone using only his thoughts. Instead, he channeled his thoughts through a medical implant embedded in his skull, which used electroencephalogram—or EEG, the same method doctors use to diagnose epilepsy—to interface with a computer simulation of a drone navigating an obstacle course in the company of two robotic wingmen.

“And the communication, in both directions, is limited to vague directional commands. Go left. Go right. The technology isn’t nearly ready to, say, beam a drone’s video stream directly into a user’s brain. ‘High-resolution electro-neural interface with read and write capabilities in 3-D is a long ways away,’ Daniel Palanker, an expert in prostheses at Stanford University, told The Daily Beast.”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.



As reported by the Army Times, one such solution presented at a recent industry day at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, is an aerial drone mobile retrieval system that would help units get their drones back after missions without having to pause.

The “Talon,” was showcased to Army officials and it made an impression.  It uses a Venus Flytrap-like capture system on the back of a moving vehicle through which either a fixed-wing or rotary-wing drone can fly and be caught.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


This extension, like the foot in a bi-valve, enables your phone to clamber across your desk like a primitive animal moving across a primeval sea floor.  For some, “Feely Finger” may point to the uncanny valley.   Feely Finger may reflect an early stage in the robotic evolution of our cell phones.  NASA has equipped some of its rovers with cell phone-based brains.  Now, cell phones are evolving their own kinetic capability. Find Feely Finger details here.

Our thanks to Thomas Marsh,, for his assistance with this story.



For more information, please visit Rethink Robotics at, and








The deployment of the tethered drone was carried out by the security branch of French company Delta Drone, with support from Elistair.  The system surveils an impressive 193 hectares with a minimal logistical footprint. Security at this event included 800 police officers, firemen, police dog teams, independent security services as well as deployed anti-drone technology.  The control room had on-demand access to aerial views of the entrance, greens, stands and the grounds perimeter.  This enabled the security forces to prevent intrusions, detect any incidents from their inception and monitor crowd flow -- all of which help the authorities ensure crowd safety.

Elistair is a leader in the tethered drone field for military, emergency services and private security actors.  The firm has systems deployed on 5 continents and in over 40 countries.  Elistair's references include the French Defence Agency, the Thales Group (multinational security), the U.S. Army, the U.K. police, Total, Paris Airports, Securitas (Sweden-based multinational security group), ENGIE (French multinational energy company), and Vodaphone (U.K.-based telecom multinational). Details are available here.  





The DARPA competition takes place on two tracks: the systems track, in which teams develop and demonstrate physical systems for live competitions; and a virtual track, in which teams develop software and algorithms to compete in simulated environments. Participants will compete for more than $3 million across four events. DARPA will award $2 million to the winner of the systems track and $750,000 to the winner of the virtual track. 

A final event in the fall of 2021 will combine all three types of subterranean  environments.  Underground illustration courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University,




Challenge Schedule
Registration opens August 15, 2018
Challenge Competitors Day, Fall 2018
Tunnel Circuit, Fall 2019
Urban Circuit, Spring 2020
Cave Circuit, Fall 2020
Final Event, Fall 2021

Background on the CMU Subterranean Challenge team is available at



The Android DC-2 robot became Hollywood’s first “robotic outlaw.” See how this unfolded in this entertaining video by LGR Tech Tales.  Our thanks to Gene Beley for his assistance with this update! 


Flirtey just demonstrated deliveries with multiple drones per pilot for the first time, which is a major milestone toward scaling drone delivery nationwide,” said Flirtey Founder and CEO Matthew Sweeny. “We’re excited to be working with our partners and the FAA to save lives and improve lifestyles with Flirtey’s drone delivery.”   The IPP program had been endorsed by President Trump a year earlier.  For details, click here


The opening at USNA is Professor of Practice in Aero, focused on UAS. The USNA recruiters require a Masters degree. Review of job applications will begin on 15 September 2018, and will continue until the position is filled.  For details, please CLICK HERE.

Duties and Responsibilities:
• Coordinate across the Naval Academy for all UAS activities in support of science and education with applicable government agencies.
• Classroom instruction for 2-3 courses per year within the Department.
• Assist and advise Capstone Design teams in support of the project-based-learning environment of the Department.
• Function effectively in a university environment that requires a strong commitment to undergraduate engineering education.
• This position is for an initial 3 years appointment with possibility of renewal contingent on incumbent's performance, funding, and needs of the department.

• An M.S. in Aerospace Engineering or a closely related field from an accredited institution.
• Demonstrated capacity to operate UAS in the National airspace for science and education.
• Excellent organizational and communications skills.
• Experience with operation of vertical lift (or rotorcraft) vehicles.
• Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen.

Photo courtesy of U.S. NAVY.



The DRS rescue system is currently available for drones weighing up to 25kg (55.1 pounds). DRS electronics are independent of the flight controller and contains sensors that monitor flight status of the drone. In the event of a system failure, loss of radio link or unrecoverable pilot error, the pilot does not need to take action or press a release button as the system acts on its own. The system operates beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and does not use pyrotechnical or explosive mechanisms, and so maximizes safety of property and bystanders. Second photo shows founders Markus Manninger and Andreas Ploier. For full details, please visit click here.


Contributors: National Academy of Engineering, 2018; Steve Olson, Rapporteur. Autonomy on Land and Sea and in the Air and Space: Proceedings of a Forum. Topics: Engineering and Technology -- Applications of Technology: Policy, Reviews and Evaluations.  File is available at: Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Download FREE PDF, here:  46 pages | 6 x 9 | PAPERBACK ISBN 978-0-309-47849-6 | DOI 10.17226/25168.  


UAS Vision, picking up a Bloomberg report, noted that the demonstration in Blacksburg was conducted under the U.S. government’s Integration Pilot Program, which was unveiled last May. The Department of Transportation selected 10 government and tribal agencies to work with industry and academia to push the boundaries of drone technology at the same time that they wrestle with potential public unease and legal questions.


Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


Other partners in the SUPER PBD project include Optonicus LLC ( , SolAero Technologies Corporation ( and Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (
“We believe that this project will demonstrate that remote electric refueling of DoD systems via high energy laser power beaming to extend mission operation time in contested and remote environments can be delivered to the war fighter in the near future”, said the project’s DARPA lead, Joseph A. Abate PhD.
“We are extremely fortunate to partner with DARPA in this first of its kind demonstration of new and innovative UAS technologies. The SUPER BPD project will set the stage for future applications of the power beaming capabilities and further demonstrates the versatility of the technology embedded in the Silent Falcon™, the only solar electric, long range, long endurance UAS”, said John W. Brown, Silent Falcon™ UAS Chairman.
ABOUT SILENT FALCON™ UAS TECHNOLOGIES Silent Falcon™ UAS Technologies manufactures patent pending, state-of-the-art small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and components and sensors for the security, military and commercial markets including oil and gas and pipeline inspections, power utility inspections, large scale agriculture, natural resource management, security/ISR, public safety, and mapping/surveying. Silent Falcon is the only solar electric UAS to provide long endurance and range, silent operations, and an open interface payload bay accommodating a wide- variety of payloads that are also quick and easy to change. The company is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information, please visit:
Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.
David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!


A Request for Information (RFI) has been posted at FedBizOps,, to elicit conversations to help generate ideas to make SLAMR a reality.  Please consider participating and forward this announcement to anyone who might be interested.

The RFI is located here:

Submit a conversation proposal here:

This announcement, provided courtesy of David Place, was prepared by:
Kerri Williams, CISSP, PMP
Faculty Associate - Research
Naval Postgraduate School
Information Sciences Department
Root Hall Room 227A
Office (831)656-3112
Cell (443)254-7999

Disclaimer and Notice: The sender is not a government contracting officer. Information contained in this email or related conversations does not create a requirement and does not obligate the Government in any manner to award a contract or otherwise pay for the information provided in response. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included any response.  All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official positions of the Naval Postgraduate School or any other government entity.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.





As reported in the sUAS NEWS, “The Wingcopter XBR, piloted by World Champion drone racing pilot, Luke Bannister, achieved a top speed average of 240.06 kilometres per hour [149.17 mph] at the famous Goodwood estate. The record for the fastest ground speed by a remote-controlled tilt-rotor aircraft was officially confirmed by Guinness World Records.”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!


As reported by CR4ISRNET, the Association of Unmanned Vehicles System International (AUVSI) has provided an in-depth look at how exactly the 1.4 percent of the defense budget allocated to drones is spent, detailing the minute differences in the comparatively meager $9.6 billion allocation.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


The small and medium UAVs include armed UAVs that have a range of up to 50 km and endurance time of 5 minutes to 6 hours. They can be either hover or loiter type UAVs. It is also stated that the UAVs should be compatible with common tactical mobile smartphones or other mobile devices and capable of single and double person operation.

Ordinary close range-UAVs are usually used only for reconnaissance and surveillance tasks; however, the UAVs that NSWC Crane Division seeks should be armed for immediate firing on targets found during reconnaissance and surveillance flights. The purpose of this RFI is to inform future armed UAV procurement, the navy stated.


Color opener photo: As reported by The, the Israeli military tested a 30-pound (13-kilogram) rifle on a consumer drone supplied by Duke Robotics, it was able to stay in the air for just five minutes. But this was an off-the-shelf drone, and the design has since been improved.

Shuttlecock grenade carrying multirotor; photo courtesy of the Iraqi Army via The Firearm Blog.

A rotary wing UAV from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific, lifts off as part of exercise Unmanned Warrior in October 2016. Photo: US Navy

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format that is distributed every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!



“Nasa will send a rover to Mars in 2020. This will search for interesting materials, drilling and scooping them from the surface and caching them in canisters. These will be dropped at various depot points. There could be 30-plus of these pen-sized tubes awaiting pick-up.” "The vehicle will have to cover large distances using a high degree of autonomy, planning its own path ahead day after day," said Ben Boyes, who will lead the feasibility team at Airbus. BBC News. Photos, courtesy of News show the rover, collection equipment and an illustration of what will be the first interplanetary rocket launch from Mars. For more detail, please view the BBC report by clicking here.


Moderator David Place served 34 years of active duty in the Navy followed by 14 years as a civil servant.  The last 11 years of his combined career was spent as a Research Associate for the Naval Post Graduate School.  His total experience as an Unmanned Systems subject matter expert spans the last 25 years.  He spent eight years on the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Board of Directors.  Today, as a part-time consultant, he helps small businesses connect with other companies with collaborative opportunities in unmanned systems.

Panelists included Amir Emadi, President and CEO, Skylift Global; Dave Twining, Co-Founder and COO, Planck Aerosystems; Chris Williams, COO, Drone Citadel and Chad Amon, CEO and Co-Founder, Inova Drone.  Presentations were riveting, and David Place moderated the discussion with incisive questions and comments that opened up the discussion in ways you don’t want to miss! View this event by clicking here!      

Readers who wish to contact David can email him at: davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com. Please tell him you sourced his contact info via the National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF)!
              --Tom Atwood





This enhanced Wankel design offers improved thermal efficiency and higher power output per unit of burned fuel, as well as reduced fuel consumption per hour.  

Wankel photos by Lucien Miller, CEO of; photo editing and captions by Tom Atwood, executive director of The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF), © 2018.  The NREF team has posted full coverage of the Denver Xponential 2018 conference and trade show -- click here to see over 400 exhibits!

In a June 28 press release, Liquid Piston notes that it has already raised $18 million in funding, and that DARPA has just added $2.5 million (bringing DARPA’s total investment to $6 million) to continue development of its 30kW X4 rotary diesel engine prototype.  The engine design has major benefits to offer.  “For the military, LiquidPiston’s propulsion can also reduce UAV engine heat signature and minimizing vibration impact on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment,” says the company. LiquidPiston believes the new design will help drone manufacturers increase flight endurance by more than 50%. Moreover, the engine's small size will likely enable miniaturized portable power generators.


The Anafi includes a controller that plugs into an iPhone or Android device, for touchscreen visualizations via the FreeFlight 6 smartphone app.  It has various modes and can follow you and shoot selfies. comments that, “…at first glance, it appears as though it might not be as advanced as DJI’s latest stab at creating a truly mainstream drone.” The Anafi will retail for $699, $100 less than the Mavic Air. It will be available July 1 from Amazon, Parrot and “select retailers.”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report!

David offers a free, periodic, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format, from which this news update was sourced. We highly recommend David's information-packed news updates! To receive his unmanned systems and robotics news, simply email a subscription request to David at the above address, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!  :-)



The AUVSI noted that through the contract, Insitu will support manned aerial operations for a variety of scenarios. “We are honored that Insitu has been selected to bring our professional aviation, aerial data collection and analysis experience to assist the DOI as they strive to suppress devastating wildfires,” said Esina Alic, Insitu’s president and CEO.

Equipped with a variety of payloads including Infrared and electro-optical cameras, sensors, and a customized TK-5 Firewatch smart tactical mapping payload, ScanEagle will provide “near real-time fire line maps and wide-area, high-resolution imagery intelligence” to help with fire suppression planning.


Kelsey Atherton of reported that the “Lightweight loitering munition promises to be as accurate as the human piloting it.”  Additionally, “…[R]ecent trials for strategic customers are just the latest in a long list of successful trials,” said Noam Levitt, CEO of UVision. 

A report by Azeri Defence magazine added: “scenarios demonstrated with the Hero-30 included the silent pneumatic launch, loitering and ISR capabilities, locating and locking on to the target and finally the precise hit (less than one-meter CEP [probable circular error]).” 

06/20/2018 notes that the new bird, also referred to as a NANO UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE, appears to be very similar to PD-100s tested in Afghanistan by the British military, which has also purchased Black Hornets for use by regular ground forces. 

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report!

David offers a free, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format, from which this news update was sourced. To be included in his viewership, simply email a subscribe request to David and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here.


See our photo gallery by clicking, here.

Xponential 2018 offered a large variety of educational programming, seminars and workshops.  Hundreds of companies from dozens of countries showed off the latest in robots, machine intelligence and AI-driven platforms across commercial and military domains. 

Photos by Lucien Miller, CEO of; editing by Tom Atwood, executive director of The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF), © 2018


As reported by, the experiment has a planned life of 5 years, and it contains 12 racks with 864 servers with 27.6 petabytes of storage (enough to store approximately 5,000,000 movies).  The center is powered by renewable energy from the Orkney Islands via a cable that also connects the center to the internet.  For more information and a video, visit; click here.


A key issue are provisions in the contracts that the workers want to include that will prohibit their jobs from being taken by food service robots.  As noted by, “The servers and chefs are likely concerned because they’re seeing cooking technology creep into other kitchens. Autonomous cooks make a spectacle outside of Vegas: Meal stations cook and plate meals at Boston’s Spyce, and CafeX in San Francisco uses a single robotic arm to whip up lattes and cappuccinos. Some larger mechanisms, like Momentum Machine’s burger chef, work on the scale that Vegas needs — the robot reportedly  pumps out 400 custom burgers an hour. The Pew Research Center predicts more automation will work its way onto the food scene by 2025, and several of the center’s tech experts anticipate that food service employees will have to adapt the most.” For details, please click here.


Of particular interest is the degree of autonomy embodied in this weaponized robot. C4ISRNET comments,
”How armed robots are fielded and controlled is a question for the future and a pressing concern on battlefields today. If the control is at the tactical level, what rank does that put the person operating it? Are they directing the Uran-9 by waypoints on a tablet or steering it remotely, with a person constantly responsible for its every movement. What kind of communications is it relaying back to the person operating (supervising?) it? Is it making targeting decisions on its own, and then checking in with a human before firing? Just how protected from unauthorized access can a robot be when it’s controlled in-theater."


The FAA has agreed with GAO’s recommendation. The GAO recommendation can be downloaded here.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com for his assistance with this report.


Using 3W’s UAV motor kit concept, one can pick a motor block and add carburation or fuel injection, various prop hubs, telemetry, and further options for communications and control.  3W engines shown at Xponential featured dual ignition with independent redundant ignition systems, i.e., two spark plugs per cylinder. Two sparks give cleaner combustion and more power.  If an ignition system goes out, with two plugs, the engine will continue running.  3W also showed twin and single Wankel engines, all with dual sparks. 

Karl Schudt, managing director of Sky Power GmbH, a 3W engine line, further noted, “Thanks to the construction-kit principle, we can quickly and graphically illustrate to the customer the components of which his future engine will consist. An adaptation of the engine to the application area can thus be quickly visualized. We're convinced that an efficient, sustainable engine application can only come through application-specific engine designs. 3W-International's basic engine always stands at the centre here. We illustrate the overall principle on the new SP-110 FI TS engine.” Learn more at 3W's well-engineered website.

Our thanks to Lucien Miller, CEO of, for his assistance in the development of this article, and for photography.

If you enjoyed this article, we respectfully request that you share it with other robotics and engine enthusiasts, the editors




Dr. Kissinger calls for a national commission to confront the several issues forced upon us by the explosion of AI: "The U.S. government should consider a presidential commission of eminent thinkers to help develop a national vision. This much is certain: If we do not start this effort soon, before long we shall discover that we started too late."

HENRY A. KISSINGER served as national-security adviser and secretary of state to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Read Kissinger's article, here.



Markets for aerial drones range from municipal management and infrastructure inspection to agriculture.  In the farming industry, Hitec’s XENO FX fixed wing drone will be invaluable in mapping and observing crop health and moisture levels to better enable farmers to irrigate and fertilize crops.

The modular payload enables sensor camera packages for specific applications to simply snap in and out of the payload bay.  Aerial photography can involve straight RGB imaging or multi-spectral sensors that detect different light frequencies that reflect crop and ground conditions, and more. Agricultural properties are huge, and the advantage in this technology inheres in the large volume of aerial coverage data the XENO FX can provide per mission. The XENO is competitively priced in this emerging market. For details, please visit

Our thanks to Lucien Miller of for his assistance in producing this news update.

Photos by Lucien Miller and Tom Atwood.


iSENSYS was one of the few companies that are marketing to all phases of the drone market. iSENSYS notes on its website that it “…was born out of the need for fast, custom development of various sensing platforms for the military and search and rescue industries.” The booth also showed the Michilin “Tweel”, a wheel with a flexible structure instead of an inflated tire, and which is therefore more reliable in the most demanding applications. Click here for more detail.


Our thanks to Lucien Miller of for his assistance in producing this news update.

Photos by Lucien Miller.


This is a form of powered autorotation technology.   Here, the theory is to tilt the aircraft and power it forward, and then the aircraft has the necessary forward speed to “autorotate” the 8 forward props the entire flight.  For more from Watts Innovations, check out their website, here. You can learn more about Bobby Watts at

Our thanks to Lucien Miller of for his assistance in producing this news update. Poster photo by Lucien Miller.


Xponential 2018 offered a large variety of educational programming, seminars and workshops.  Leaders in automation from dozens of countries showed off the latest advances in machine intelligence and hardware platforms across commercial and military domains.  NREF was there photographing the exhibitor floor and will soon post a photo gallery of the largest collection of robots under one roof we’ve ever seen!

Here are a few “teaser” photos that suggest the scope of land, sea and air robotics systems exhibited at this year’s Xponential! These include the Houston Mechatronics Aquanaut, Sensys Target Drone, NAVMAR Applied Sciences TigerShark XP, Ghost Robotics Quaqdrupeds with miniature UGVs and a quadcopter, and c-Link Systems Forager search & rescue UGV.


As reported at, over 1/3 of the robot faces were black, and most have a mouth but no eyebrows, cheeks or nose. Circular eyes were the most popular, and only 1 in 10 had human-shaped eyes. Clusters were noted; one group had Baxter-like faces, and another, Eve-like Faces. Notably very simple faces were also popular, many with only eyes. Yumi, FURo-D, Buddy, and Datou were perceived to be the friendliest robots. The robots rated as most intelligent were FURo-D and Gongzi, while Sawyer, Buddy, and Datou were rated as least intelligent. Datou and FURo-D were deemed the most trustworthy, and Gongzi the least. The researchers delved far more deeply into the analysis than is suggested, here. For details see “Characterizing the Design Space of Rendered Robot Faces.


The announcement noted that these teleoperated construction vehicles can repair and recover a damaged airfield without exposing the remote driver to danger.  The Company received a $2.9 million Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop a drop-in robotic kit.  A separate program named “CARNAC” was announced for retrofitting air vehicles with robotic pilots that will enable autonomous flight. Visit RE2 here.

04/07/2018 reported that each Marsbee will carry an integrated suite of sensors and wireless communications, and will have a body size approximately that of a bumblebee.  A mobile charging base will serve as a communications relay station for swarms of Marsbees.  Engineers foresee very low power requirements for these flying sensor packages. The design may include a torsional spring at the wing root to store energy and facilitate flapping motion.  Testing will be performed in a vacuum chamber adjusted to simulate Martian air density.  Illustration: JOSH MCCANN / SHUTTERSTOCK. Check out the extensive technical reporting on robotics and automation at!   


One of several different robot models manufactured by Knightscope, the K5 has multiple sensors and can be driven by an operator or programmed to autonomously navigate a defined area while sending back information to security personnel. Each of its 4 cameras can read up to 300 license plates a minute and track vehicle dwell time as well as overall parking lot usage. K5 can also identify mobile devices and rogue routers within its operational area. Photos by Thomas Marsh. Broadridge is a global fintech leader with 40 offices worldwide.


As explained on the conference website, you’ll learn how data can help you track progress towards your goals and lead to more useful, constructive feedback. SMARTx Tech Talks will spotlight visionary leaders who will deliver short inspirational talks on smart manufacturing and business transformation through the implementation of new, leading technologies. Attendees will earn about using intelligent systems to cut costs, improve service and promote innovation.

Jack Shaw, Technology Futurist (shown), will deliver the May 2, 2018 keynote, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., titled: “Artificial Intelligence—Business Systems and Processes That Think for Themselves.”

Intelligent Systems are transforming business, commerce, and society. Self-optimizing production scheduling, autonomic supply chains, and self-configuring business ecosystems are just a few examples of Intelligent Systems that will shake the world.  In this presentation, Jack will cite success stories that show how leading-edge businesses are using these technologies to cut costs, improve service and promote innovation.


Byron Spice reports from CMU that the robots can measure radioactivity from within the pipes to a greater degree of accuracy than human inspectors, and that this process simultaneously spares humans the hazards and enormous person-hours and daunting logistics of inspection duty.  DOE officials estimate the robots could save tens of millions of dollars in completing the characterization of uranium deposits at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon (shown), and save perhaps $50 million at a similar uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky.

RadPiper is a robot developed by the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute for the Department of Energy. The treaded robot moves within the pipes of uranium-enrichment facilities to determine areas where radiation levels may pose a hazard. Robot photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University via For more information, contact Byron Spice at, 412-268-9068. 


As reported by, IOActive researchers Lucas Apa and Cesar Cerrudo described how an attack on service robots was similar to how a computer system or other network-connected device can be compromised and held hostage. Accordingly, on top of basic security vulnerabilities, developers need to be vigilant regarding the potential hazards of newly developed ransomware targeting service robots.


"We could be making the next epochal advancement in oceanography," says Craig McLean, NOAA's assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research and acting chief scientist. As noted by, it was not all smooth sailing. At the equator, the drones were temporarily stuck in a “wind dead zone.” Another prototype with a larger sail will depart for the equator in July to see if it can better negotiate what has been called “the doldrums,” where there is minimal wind.

A discovery made in the first trip was that water temperature could vary by 1° in less than a kilometer. Buoys and Satellites are unable to detect this kind of information, the measurement of which is another example of the advantages of the new Saildrone tech.


To facilitate robotic play, teams are limited to 8 players each, and bonus points are awarded for completing passes.  The ball just needs to touch the receiving robot for a pass to be completed.  Like human football, robotic football is physically rough. Robots must be robust to withstand the hazards of play. Student helpers quickly replace spent batteries and pull robots off to the side to replace broken parts.  In the game shown, some of the plays are spectacular.  Notre Dame won this particular match by a landslide 51 to 9, though admitting Purdue had really kept Notre Dame “on its toes.”  To view the ROBOT FOOTBALL video, Click here.  The robot football video was posted by Kyle Smith at Bell Media on 2-18-18.  The video will be available on the Bell Media server as an MP4 downoad until 4-19-18. 

VisualEdge was also in attendance -- it provides game arenas, VEX and VEX-IQ competition systems (hardware and software), in Indiana as well as other states (see wall poster).   To learn more about Visual Edge, visit their website link above, or contact CEO Dan Ward, directly, at visualedge1[at]gmail[dot]com.  Tell him you learned about Visual Edge here!






As shown in this video, a hand-mounted camera finds the door handle, and body-mounted cameras orient the robot as it navigates through the doorway. Locomotion and balance are guided automatically, and the robot, perhaps contrary to the gut instinct of some observers, is able to overcome and ignore interference from the technician with no emotional response or apparent concerns. Robots not only perform dull, dirty and dangerous jobs, they are oblivious to stimuli that humans might find quite distracting or even frustrating.


C4ISRNET further noted that Mattis is being advised on AI issues by the Defense Innovation Board, a group of Silicon Valley experts formed by Ash Carter, the previous defense secretary.  Interestingly, Mattis commented with respect to future warfare, that “If we ever get to the point where it’s completely on automatic pilot and we’re all spectators, then it’s no longer serving a political purpose. And conflict is a social problem that needs social solutions.”

Interestingly, Mattis commented with respect to future warfare, that “If we ever get to the point where it’s completely on automatic pilot and we’re all spectators, then it’s no longer serving a political purpose. And conflict is a social problem that needs social solutions.” Photo credit (Mattis): DoD/Kathryn E. Holm; (combat photo): U.S. Army


As stated in a SUAS News release, the UASPC is a model, not a standard. Three versions are available: the annotated version unabridged with extensive endnotes and supplemental materials, the condensed version intended for pilot implementation, and this abbreviated version containing only the core principles, and introducing and promoting the UASPC. It is available free of charge at


As reported by Meredith Bauer of the DoD’s in late January, “It’s an arms race…  In theory, the only technology capable of hacking a system run by artificial intelligence is another, more powerful AI system… At least, for now.”   Photo: An Army sergeant launches a RQ-20 Puma Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) while conducting UAV training during exercise Combined Resolve V at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany in 2015. The Army is investing in artificial intelligence to help protect its drone systems from cyberattacks. This scenario has been repeated hundreds of times since then. U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Cress Jr./Released.


This year’s line up will continue the tradition of top-tier “learn how to earn” content. Expect a variety of experts offering valuable firsthand insights that will have many saying ‘I heard that first at the SUSB Expo!’ That is what makes this program a “can’t miss” event and probably the reason why it is the last drone symposium standing in San Francisco.

We are changing venues this year to the historic Marines’ Memorial Club next to Union Square on Wednesday, April 25th. On Thursday the 26th, we’ll be heading out to Treasure Island for presentations and flying demonstrations right in the City of San Francisco.  This is an exceptional opportunity for end-users and investors to see products and services demonstrated “cage-free” and in real-world conditions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a demonstration speaks volumes. Click here for details:

Check back often, we will be updating the website, agenda and program information as we get closer to the event.  We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 SUSB Expo as sUAS celebrates ten years of service to the drone community.

We still have a few wildcard slots to present, sponsor and demonstrate at the 2018 Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. We are also producing a SUSB Expo compendium Expo-SE, a downloadable journal of case studies and articles to share with the community.  So, if you have something you believe the world must see, email


UAS operations that occur near airports may impact current and future airport operations as well as entities surrounding airports. This document explores how some airports are already taking actions to better understand and tackle the challenges associated with managing UAS at their airports, and highlights their varying degrees of success.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


As posted by Charles River Analytics, MINOTAUR lets operators use voice and hand signals to communicate with the UGV, and the system can communicate with other military squads. “The robotic platform can become a true support agent as part of a human-robot team, only requiring direct teleoperation for executing specific tasks that need the most human skill, such as disarming or detonating an IED.” This frees up the operator’s attention while allowing reliable control of mule-like UGVs. MINOTAUR can operate in inclement weather and situations with compromised visibility, and includes a wearable operator control unit.


As reported by The Washington Post, the robot can assign ownership of objects to different members of the household, recognize faces, and has access to a network enabling sharing of information about objects with other Aeolus robots. Story courtesy of Peter Holley of the Washington Post. Image courtesy of


If your company is an early-stage startup approaching Series A round or between Series A and Series B, has product or service offerings that aims to enhance unmanned systems technologies and processes in a distinctive way and can demonstrate growth potential and scalable investment opportunities, then you need to participate in Startup Showdown at XPONENTIAL. The deadline to complete the Startup Showdown Application is Friday, January 26, 2018.” For more information, please click here.

If you are new to Xponential and would like a tour of last year's exhibitor floor, or if you simply would like to revisit that awesome gathering of the finest robots in the world, please check out NREF's exclusive gallery.


The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems recently announced new standards projects. 

Ethically Driven Nudges

“Nudges” are defined as “overt or hidden suggestions designed to influence human behavior or emotions.” The first of four standards proffered by the IEEE is IEEE P7008. This defines the “Standard for Ethically Driven Nudging for Robotic, Intelligent and Autonomous Systems,” and it delineates “the concepts, functions and benefits necessary to establish and ensure ethically driven methodologies for the design of robotic, intelligent and autonomous systems in accordance with worldwide ethics and moral theories.” The standard requires robots to adhere to widely accepted ethical norms of fairness and principles of moral behavior in their interactions with humans.

Fail-Safe Design

The second of three principles is IEEE P7009, the “Standard for Fail-Safe Design of Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Systems,” which applies to the safe cessation of robotic operations. The standard applies a scale from weak to strong that is used for measuring, testing and certifying a system’s ability to fail safely.

Wellbeing Metrics

IEEE P7010 is the “Wellbeing Metrics Standard for Ethical Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems.”  The standard looks beyond economic growth and productivity to further considerations such as emotional health, societal impacts and the environment. Sponsored by the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, IEEE P7010 establishes a baseline for consideration of objective and subjective data that will incorporate “globally accepted ethical considerations.”

Photo courtesy of the IEEE


According to, “The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance on the matter late Wednesday, noting that while operating system updates could help mitigate the issues, the only true solution would be to replace computer processing units' hardware.” The flaws reportedly affect Intel, AMD, Google, Microsoft, Apple and other brands of chips used in millions of computer systems.

Michael Daly, chief technology officer of cybersecurity and special missions at Raytheon, noted that “The vulnerabilities and sample exploit code are now in the wild, so we should expect that criminals and nation-state actors are using them.” The report noted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre say that, to date, they have not seen evidence of malicious exploitation of these vulnerabilities.


The New Indian Express reported that a 16-member team created the robot in the Makers Leeway lab facility in Hyderabad. H Bots founder PSV Kisshhan noted the robot works with people but is not designed to replace them. 

This is not the world’s first robotic police officer per se—shown below is "Robocop," currently deployed in Dubai.


The development of these interactive robots was led by Dr. SK Song, founder and CEO of Future Robots.  Travelers, shoppers and business guests can interact in 6 languages using the 32-inch touch screen. Future Robots’ service robots will subsequently greet and guide attendees at the Olympics, February 9 – 25, 2018, in South Korea.  This will put these robots in front of 300+ million viewers worldwide, quite a marketing introduction.

Read Tom’s report, here

A note to our valued site viewers: is the last word in developing AI, robotics and machine intelligence in Asia—we recommend that our readers subscribe to this excellent free service. Images courtesy of Future Robots via


The following articles and presentations scrutinize the risks and opportunities for human employment in an ever more automated workplace., Will Cobots & Augmented Reality (AR) Spike Productivity?  Tom Green, May 2017

AUVSI NEWS, WAL-MART DEPLOYING SHELF-SCANNING ROBOTS IN 50 OF ITS STORES (Wal-Mart states this will not affect employee head count), Staff, November 2017

BBC, How automation will affect you – the experts’ view, Richard Gray, May 2017

BBC News, Will warehouse packing robot cost jobs?, November 2017

CBC, These Canadians are helping the world become replicant ready: Don Pittis, Don Pittas, October 2017

Central Valley Business Times, The Future of Work,  (video) from Retro Report and Quartz, November 2017, When Robots Do It All and Leisure is Mandatory: Not for Another 100 Years, Shushanik Papanya, July 2017, When the robots take over, will there be jobs left for us?, David Pogue, April 2017

Computerworld, There’s no such thing as a ‘remote’ employee, Mike Elgan, September, 2017

GeekWire, Robots vs. jobs: Report says automation will displace up to 375M workers by 2030, Alan Boyle, November 2017, New Study Confirms that, Yes, Automation is Taking jobs, Graham Templeton, March 2017, Americans are totally delusional about what robots could soon do to their careers, Catey Hill, August 2017

Mother Jones, You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot –and Sooner Than You Think, Kevin Drum, October 2017

PC Magazine, Will the Robots Take Our Jobs in 2018? Experts Weigh In, Rob Marvin, December 2017

Reuters News, Rise of the machines: Philippine outsourcing industry braces for AI, Karen Lemu, November 2017, Robots won’t steal our jobs if we put workers at center of AI revolution, Thomas Kochan & Lee Dyer, September 2017

TED, How we’ll earn money in a future without jobs, Martin Ford, November 2017, Radio Atlantic: Ask Not What Your Robots Can Do for You, Matt Thompson, August 2017, What jobs will still be around in 20 years? Read this to prepare your future, Arwa Mahdawi, June 2017

The Japan Times, Japan’s robots stepping up to fill worst labor shortage in 40 years, Pavel Alpeyev and Katsuyo Kuwako, December 2017, The Future of Jobs Report, Klaus Schwab, September 2017

The New York Times, Will Robots Take Our Children’s Jobs?, Alex Williams, December 2017

Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, The Future of Employment, Carl Benedikt Frey & Michael Osborne, September 2013

Photo: A worker observes a riveting robot inside the mid-body fuselage of a 777 jet (image courtesy of Boeing).  Chart via the McKinsey Global Institute. It shows that automation is likely to have a more disruptive impact on employment in richer countries such as the U.S. and Japan. Statistical sources include the World Bank and Oxford Economics.  Image and illustration courtesy of
Our thanks to Marc T. Liu, for his assistance in compiling these links.  © 2017 NREF


12/13/2017’s case study shows how the robot was taught to perform polishing motions by having it record the movements of a skilled human technician. Recording the procedures took less time and cost far less than if this were done using programming. Automating glass polishing at the factory has enabled production of the same amount of completed glass panes in two 8-hours shifts that would have required human workers three 8-hour shifts. Case study courtesy of Images courtesy of Saint-Gobain via


The CSAIL/Harvard research team notes that their 2.6-gram muscle can hoist a 3-kilogram object, which is like a “mallard duck lifting a car,” and also shrink to 1/10th its original size. This is accomplished using significantly less power than traditional motors comprised of metal, wire and electronics. The research was funded by the military and reported at Photos courtesy of the CSAIL/Harvard team.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.

Please note: David, with Robin as a contributing journalist, offers a free, first-rate, comprehensive news report on unmanned systems and robotics in PDF format, from which this news update was sourced.  To receive his Unmanned Systems News (USN), simply send David a subscribe request, and please let him know you sourced the opportunity here!


c-Link Systems CEO Bill Lovell notes: “We do not consider having a whole factory with the same robot model; we then differentiate its job by the end-effector and the software to control it. This paper will look more at the basic hardware than the complex software used to create a full functioning robot.  Since the omni-robotics term is not really used in the robotic arm industry I began using it for a new type of robot.

“The concept of an omni-chassis, autonomous or otherwise, is to allow companies, agencies and individuals the ability to take advantage of a robot with multifunction ability at a lower cost. A single chassis can handle multiple jobs where as the alternative is multiple robots, each built for a specific job at a higher cost.” Read Lovell’s paper here.

Lovell currently holds bachelor of science degrees in electronic, mechanical and industrial engineering obtained through the Air Force education system, and has been developing robotics systems for over 35 years. He has more than 30 years in embedded/FPGA Industrial controls development, and 15 years in high speed fiber optic controls and communication. He worked in fiber optic control systems integration of Alcoa’s #3 rolling mill in Davenport, IA. This included the development of G.E. FANUC Series 9070 and G.E. Drive System 3800 integration hardware.  Lovell was also a proponent and developer of Intel’s MultiBus II and MIX bus structures.  He also has over 8 years teaching and course creation military/civilian in electronics and robotics. For further detail on his expansive IT background, see

Photo: Shown is an earlier version of a Disaster SaR. To date this is the most complex Forager payload ever designed. It covers 100% of the chassis with 50% being additional batteries. The other 50% contains two 6-axis arms working together on moving debris. The end-effectors can be change on-the-fly by the control system from a tool rack, thus allowing for holding and cutting simultaneously. Coupled with the arms are a pair of extendable boom arms, one has a color camera and the other a forward looking infrared sensor [FliR]. The FliR allows the robot to see hot spots and evaluate the potential for human life. Photo courtesy of c-Link Systems.



Made purely of silver, the Silver Swan plucks a fish from the simulated water in which it sits, and then consumes it. The glass rods that simulate water cause light to play on the swan with great verisimilitude. As can be seen in the video, the light reflections closely resemble those created by slightly disturbed water. The Silver Swan is exhibited at the Bowes Museum in England, in the town of Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England.


If you want to own any of these domain names, please look on or email


As reported by the, Professor Bayram Sade , President of KTO Karatay University, said that the school will collaborate with AkinSoft and initiate internship programs.  Operating since 1995, AkinSoft has partners in 28 countries and is a leading software company in Turkey.


As reported by the Central Valley Business Times, “[t]he two news organizations have teamed to produce a series of video reports on the radical transformations coming to central aspects of life in the near future, through the experience of people already living them.” Keep your eyes on the CVBT, they have a knack for posting interesting stories.


As noted on its home page, “PI is a leading manufacturer of precision motion systems including Piezo Stages, Air Bearings, Linear Positioners, Microscope Stages, Motor Controllers, Piezo Nanopositioning Systems, Piezo Ceramic Motors, and Hexapod 6-Axis Systems. Applications include photonics, bio-nanotechnology, medical device, and semiconductor manufacturing.”  A short video overview of PI’s offerings can be found, here.


Bergbreiter teaches and researches robotics, and in this video, posted by Megan Crouse via, presents a panorama of current trends in an interesting and informative 35-minute presentation.


AUVSI News reported that Bossa Nova Robotics produces the robots, which check pricing, labeling and misplacement of products, and then report any anomalies to human workers.  Chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. and ecommerce, Jeremy King, noted that these bots are “50 percent more productive than their human counterparts,” owing to greater accuracy and the ability to scan shelves 3X faster than humans.

Photo credit: (scanning) courtesy of Wal-Mart; (turning corner) Special to the Democrat-Gazette,


Coordinated by C-TEST Labs in conjunction with the Youngstown State University and co-sponsors, the program was sub-titled “A PRACTICAL DISCUSSION ON THE IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN OUR COMMUNITIES”.  We recommend these presentations to all who have an interest in AI. These speakers are leaders in the field and many of their contributions have influenced and benefited our reporting at NREF over the years. Please click here to see program highlights!


The Panelists

•Nikola Danaylov|
Singularity Keynote Speaker
Blogger and Podcast Host

•Paul Carlson
Intelligent Community Strategist
Columbus, Ohio

•Andrew Konya,
CEO of Remesh
Cleveland, Ohio

•Doug McCollough
Chief Technology Officer
Dublin, Ohio

•Dr. Jay Ramanathan
Humanitarian Engineering Center
Ohio State University

•Dr. Mark Vopat
Political Philosophy,
Technology Ethicist,
Youngstown State University

•Dr. Shiqi Zhang
AI and Human-Robotics Researcher
Cleveland State University


Event Sponsors

AIJ: Financial sponsor through “Funding Opportunities for Promoting AI Research”.
Youngstown State University, Computer Science and Information Systems Department

AWH of Dublin Ohio

Oak Hill Robotics Makerspace

National Robotics Education Foundation

CTEST Laboratories

Dr. James Dale Ethics Center: Venue/promotion sponsor

Cleveland Machine Intelligence Meetup: Promotion sponsor

ACM SIGAI: Promotion sponsor

YSU ACM-W Student Chapter: Promotion sponsor.


AvWeek noted, “The 22-kg (48-lb.) Flexrotor is a tailsitter that takes off vertically like a helicopter then transitions to fuel-efficient wingborne flight, its two-blade proprotor providing both lift in vertical flight and thrust in forward flight.” AvWeek noted that the previous endurance record for a VTOL was “22 hr. 30 min., set in August 2016 by a Latitude Engineering HQ-60 hybrid quadrotor. The HQ-60 takes off vertically like a multicopter and transitions to wingborne flight using a pusher propeller.”


HitecRCD’s pioneering development work in servo and actuator technology over the decades has led to new and powerful solutions for hobby and research markets that use machines that require precise motion control.  These innovations in motion control and machine mobility have, in turn, facilitated the growth of diverse industries, worldwide.  You can check out the interesting details on the scope of Hitec's servo and actuator products that serve hobby and professional markets at  However, for insights into Hitec’s extraordinary new generation of industrial actuators, and how these products are helping grow large scale industries worldwide, please see

Photos courtesy of HitecRCD; HitecRCD booth by Tom Atwood, May, 2017, AUVSI Dallas Xponential trade show. 

Reader Alert!  Please note that you can see Hitec’s expanding product line, in person, at the upcoming Commercial UAV Expo Americas, October 24 – 26 in Las Vegas, NV!


Among his key “takeaways” for consideration by educators:
 Course Levels: More students had skills using drones than I expected, whether it was playing with one at a store or having done a simulation on a video game system. Many students caught on very quickly. To improve, we are going to create beginning, intermediate, and expert classes to better serve our students.
 Coding: There are drone companies – Parrot Education is one – that are specializing in coding aspects that can be easily integrated into a school project like designing obstacle courses. It is another investment but also another engaging way to introduce coding to students.
 Teamwork: The best decision I made was adding our math teacher into the mix of drones because she instantly knew the math standards that aligned to our obstacle course drawings. She even interjected the idea of making our course using our school’s 3D printer prior to building it with PVC piping.
 #EduDrone Community: Our phrase EduDrone quickly became a hashtag picked up by Twitter users to connect an unofficial community of teachers who are implementing drones in school.

Find out more about Brian’s work, here.

Our thanks to Charlee Smith at Bob Smith Industries (BSI) adhesives, for his assistance with this news update.  For more information, please visit Bob Smith Industries (BSI), at, (805) 466-1717.

10/04/2017 noted, “The team behind the project thinks that robotic technology could improve yields in agriculture, which is necessary if the world's growing population is to be fed in coming years.

Hands Free Hectare is an experimental farm run by researchers from Harper Adams University, in the United Kingdom.
Photo credit: Harper Adams University


The Swedish start-up was founded by four researchers from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, who have spent years developing a social robotics platform that combines advanced conversational artificial intelligence with robotics technology. Their mission is to create a new interface between humans and technology that will be as groundbreaking an interface as the smartphone and as revolutionary a software platform as the Windows operating system.


As reported by, “What Microsoft has done, though, is focus on a different aspect of how quantum computing can work — and that may just allow it to get a jump on IBM, Google and other competitors that are also looking at this space. The main difference between what Microsoft is doing is that its system is based on advances in topology that the company previously discussed. Most of the theoretical work behind this comes from Fields Medal-recipient Michael Freedman, who joined Microsoft Research in 1997, and his team.” Photos courtesy of


It was reported on Reuters that “The institute’s offices and laboratories are under construction at the University of Toronto, where artificial-intelligence pioneer Geoffrey Hinton conducted breakthrough research in a field known as deep learning, and trained some of the most accomplished researchers in the field.” Garth Gibson has earned numerous awards in his research. Photo credit:




Estonian unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer Eli is developing a drone nest for the tethered multi-rotor project. "Remotely controlled robotic systems that keep our soldiers in a safe distance are crucial to the next generation of battlefield effects that will give asymmetric advantage to the warfighter," said Kuldar Väärsi, Milrem Robotics' chief executive officer.  The report further noted that “the cognitive burden on the warfighter is vastly reduced through the fusion of sensor data and advanced battlespace management systems.”  Click here for more system details.

Our Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report.


As reported by, “YuMi, whose name is derived from the phrase ‘you and me’, was taught all the movements by Colombini, who held its arms in rehearsals so the computer could memorize the correct gestures. The robot is not able to improvise and any unexpected change in tempo from the musicians would have been ruinous.” Photos by REUTERS/Remo Casilli.


Nine university and high school student teams designed autonomous, robotic boats that navigated an obstacle course in a race against the clock. The boats replicated scaled-down tasks similar to those being developed for coastal surveillance, port security and other types of oceanographic operations. Shown is the Georgia Tech team. Click here for the gallery and the exciting details!


As reported by Peter Brown of Electronics 360 at IEEE, CSAIL noted that “The system analyzes factors such as speed and stability to make suggestions so the user doesn’t create a robot so top-heavy that it can’t move without tipping over for example. Once the robot is designed, it is then fabricated using an origami-inspired 3D-printing technique that involves flat faces connected at joints and then folding the design into the final shape, combining the most effective parts of 2D and 3D printing.”

Future plans include designing flying robots. The full research can be found in The International Journal of Robotics Research.


Reuters reported on hurricane Harvey drone efforts, yesterday. World famous disaster robotics pioneer, Robin Murphy, Director of TEES Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), offered helpful direction to disaster relief managers, with posts at on best practices for Small UAVs at Disasters, and with suggestions regarding flying at Hurricane Harvey and aftermath. Photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman, east Houston, TX, 8-28-17.


“Many leading hospitals are providing experience-focused programs that enhance patient satisfaction and improve loyalty and referrals,” notes Stephan Sonderegger, CEO of Swisslog Healthcare. “These ‘concierge’ services are modeled after the hospitality industry where Savioke mobile robots are already commercially deployed in dozens of hotels worldwide. There are clear applications for this technology in healthcare, which we are excited to explore together.” Swisslog sold legacy autonomous mobile robot (AMR) models in healthcare applications for nearly 10 years.

The Savioke Relay is a dynamic, low-profile AMR that combines fast, secure delivery with a responsive, friendly human interface for more reliable and personalized patient services.
“Savioke’s Relay Robot has widespread applications in all parts of the healthcare supply chain including securely delivering prescription and over-the-counter medications to nurses and patients in hospitals,” said Steve Cousins, founder and CEO of Savioke. “Our joint partnership with Swisslog, a leader in medication supply chain solutions, will enable Relay to expand these use cases and enter new healthcare-related markets globally.”

Wally The Butler robot is shown at the Residence Inn Marriott LAX.


An article in Inside Business, in The Hampton Roads Business Journal described Walker’s program.  When Walker first hit upon the idea, he noted from his own study of drone operations, that “They happened to be standing by and they happened to have a drone.” Walker demonstrated the app to several law enforcement members in Virginia on August 21. The app includes a map that shows the location of available drone operators within a given radius. In the demo, one of Walker’s neighbors simulated a missing person.

The demonstration was live and the “missing” person was Walker’s neighbor, who hid in her backyard till one of the drone pilots found her. A video feed of the last few seconds of the search was displayed on a screen.  According to Walker, less than 1 percent of drones are used for commercial purposes; the remaining 99 percent are used by hobbyists and enthusiasts. Those drones have the potential to be a positive impact on society, he said.  Walker noted, “Right now, there’s 120,000 to 150,000 drones flying in Virginia,” he said. “We believe by the end of 2018, there will be about a million drones flying in Virginia. That’s not an insignificant number.”

This is great news for Virginians, and we, at NREF, look forward to the program spreading to other states.


The Commercial UAV Expo Americas focuses on the business needs of asset owners and operators. “The conference program addresses critical questions enterprise users have about UAS implementation and operation, including systems selection and integration; developing enterprise workflows, guidelines and policies; data management and integration; and legal, safety and regulatory considerations… The exhibitor floor grew to 170 booths in 2016 from 130 in 2015, an increase of 31%, with the world’s top UAS vendors showcasing cutting-edge airframes, components, software and services, all focused on industrial applications.”

A report on the outlook for the commercial drone market is being given away by the Commercial UAV Expo Americas and can be downloaded from the event site. Image courtesy of the Roswell Flight Test Crew.


The Skylift website further notes that “Direct delivery was once reserved for emergencies and exceptionally valuable cargo, but it is now quickly becoming mainstream as part of the On-demand Economy. The rapid growth of on-demand delivery has brought on a confluence of new vehicle requirements. Skylift competes with the capabilities of helicopters and the costs of traditional ground transportation.” 

Skylift focuses on parcels weighing under 150 pounds, which it notes constitute 80% of all deliveries, in a global industry said to be valued at $242 billion.  CEO Amir Emadi explains in the company’s YouTube videos how Skylift will meet the needs of this critical market segment.  Key elements of its systems include autopilot, sense & avoid as well as redundant communications.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report.


According to a U.S. Army memo obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy have concluded that there are operational risks associated with DJI equipment. The official memorandum directs the services to "cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from the devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction."

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report.


Noting the emergence of lidar technologies from multiple firms,  SPAR reported:  “Latest among these players is Draper, a not-for-profit R&D company which is developing a solid-state lidar sensor expected to cost $50 when produced at scale. The sensor will have a range of 300 meters, an angular resolution of less than 0.1 degrees, and a scan rate of 20 frames per second… Draper’s lidar is also slightly different from most solid-state lidar sensors on the market. Leveraging its background in integrated photonics, the company developed its sensor to use Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS). Where a majority solid-state technologies use an optical phased array to direct the emitted laser, MEMS technology uses microscopic moving mirrors.”


The app performs a variety of operations including topographic surveys and volumetric calculations, and has various autonomous flight modes with multi-engine cloud processing. The Dive article further notes:  “The AEC-focused 3DR is growing its foothold in the drone space as the technology takes off in the construction industry. In May, the company scored $53 million in Series D funding from investors including Atlantic Bridge, Autodesk and True Ventures. At the time, the Berkeley, CA–based company said it planned to invest that capital into expanding its flagship product, Site Scan, and marketing it toward construction and engineering firms.”


Matthew Humphries reported in PC Magazine that Kalishnakov will demonstrate AI-controlled combat robots at a late August conference in Moscow.  The conference is the Army 2017 International Military-Technical Forum.   Humphries’ report noted:  “a comment from Sofiya Ivanova, the Group's Director for Communications, gives a clear idea of what to expect: ‘In the imminent future, the Group will unveil a range of products based on neural networks ... A fully automated combat module featuring this technology is planned to be demonstrated at the Army-2017 forum.’ “


To facilitate R&D, Amazon is holding “The Amazon Robotics Challenge.”  The Challenge “starts Thursday and tasks teams with picking up objects ranging from towels to toilet brushes and moving them between storage bins and boxes. The handiest contestants stand to win prizes from a pool totaling $250,000...  The showdown is taking place in Nagoya because it’s part of this year’s RoboCup, a festival of robotic competition which includes events for rescue, domestic, and soccer robots.”  RoboCup is taking place in Nagoya from July 25th to the 31st.

Amazon has held versions of the challenge twice in previous years. “This time around, though, the retail giant has revised the rules in ways that make the competition more difficult. ‘I think it’s getting closer to the real conditions you would find in a warehouse,’ says Juxi Leitner, who leads a team from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision. ‘They’re getting people to work on a problem they think they will need to solve to stay competitive without needing to hire anyone.’ ”


This view captured by Opportunity shows Perseverance Valley, from the west rim of Endeavour crater. This is where the rover will spend the current solar conjunction period. 

NASA notes that “Two weeks of commanding have been uploaded to the rover to keep her active during the solar conjunction with short communications with the Mars orbiters during the period.”  The report continues that “As of Sol 4792 (July 17, 2017) the solar array energy production was 344 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.706 and a solar array dust factor of 0.534. Total odometry is 27.95 miles (44.97 kilometers).”


If you wish to get started, please order a RoboButs circuit board.  “Choose the type of kit you want, send a PayPal payment to wperko [at] brainless dot org with your [kit] choice and mailing address in the comments”. Or contact Walt via the menu at the top of the RoboGuts webpage, here.  The initial run of RoboGuts circuit boards are made in the U.S. and are completely RoHS compliant (safe, non-toxic parts). 

If interested in these tools for educating the very youngest robotics students, take advantage of these offers while they last. The RoboGuts STEAM Education Program comes with three online lesson plans and curricula. The 3D printer .STL files are available for free download, also.


Xconomy reported on Transfix, one of the companies developing AI for truckers: “The drivers of Transfix’s entry into truckload management are machine learning and automation software, which the company deploys to create a streamlined online marketplace to connect shippers with carriers ready to transport their goods.”

Image via Xconomy, licensed by Depositphotos, copyright Tono Balaguer.


In this episode, guest George Purdy discusses the use of drones in disaster relief scenarios as well as gatherings he leads where students and families are shown drones in flight in selected urban and rural areas to demonstrate how drones can be operated by public authorities to facilitate public safety.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report.


As noted on the NVIDIA website, NVIDIA teaching kits “contain everything instructors need to teach full-term curriculum courses with GPUs in machine and deep learning, robotics, accelerated/parallel computing, and a variety of other academic disciplines.”

“‘Jet’ is a smart, autonomous robot utilizing Actobotics components and is based on the powerful NVIDIA Jetson embedded development platform. Jet’s brain is built around the revolutionary NVIDIA Tegra® SoC and uses the same NVIDIA computing cores designed into supercomputers around the world. This gives Jet compute-intensive computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI), and self-driving capabilities in a low-cost package…  'Jet' utilizes the Robot Operating System (ROS) for abstraction, [and] scales from K-12 projects to real industrial applications.” Photo of TX1 ‘Jet’ courtesy of ServoCity.

The new robots can be purchased here:

The robots are in active use, e.g., at this high school camp:

We recommend that educators, programmers and serious hobbyists visit NVIDIA’s remarkable site to take a closer look at these new robots. Educational discounts are available.


As reported by, “The drone has passed initial tests after being modified to fit the FAA’s regulations for small drones, which required the payload and amount of gasoline to be reduced to meet the FAA’s overall weight limit of 55 pounds. Future tests are needed to determine if the UAV can actually fly for more than five days straight”

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report.


Yaser Sheikh, associate professor of robotics, said these methods for tracking 2-D human form and motion open up new ways for people and machines to interact with each other, and for people to use machines to better understand the world around them. The ability to recognize hand poses, for instance, will make it possible for people to interact with computers in new and more natural ways, such as communicating with computers simply by pointing at things. See a demonstration of the technology on Youtube, here.

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy


As reported in The Bakersfield Californian, when a group of firefighters heard the telltale whiz of an illegal firework followed by a trail of smoke, they were quick to deploy LOIS.  The drone cost the fire department roughly $1,000, so the first citation payed off the cost of the drone. The report suggested that this last weekend, the department earned enough in citations to purchase a minor fleet.


Speakers include a dizzying array of top experts in the UAS field from the military as well as leading technology companies.  Looking at previous symposia held by TTC, Boeing noted “Good speakers and good contacts in audience”; COMFOURTHFLT stated “Excellent planned & executed conference.  High quality of speakers.”  The event website will be up in several weeks, and any who would like to exhibit should contact marketing and exhibiting director, Ken Hood,  Image courtesy of TTC, sourced from an ISR next generation report posted by TTC,

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report. To subscribe to David Place’s free list serve email service, please contact David at


As reported by, the new goggles offer a 28-degree field of view, lower latencies and freedom from the kinds of RF noise and interference that can plague analog systems.  The base system will ship this Fall. Not just for racing, it is compatible with DJI drones and HDMI and so should work well with videography drone apps.  It appears these goggles may raise the industry bar for clarity, efficiency and reliability.


In the BBC report, professor Victores noted that next steps in R&D will focus on speeding up the robot to a more typical pace when ironing, and to extending its training so that it can perform many other common household tasks. 

This project at Madrid’s Charles III University is just one example in the rapidly advancing world of humanoid robot development.  Researchers, worldwide, are creating full size humanoids with grasping hands to master an enormous range of generalized tasks. Photos courtesy of  professor Victores, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.


Frank’s report includes an invaluable listing of remaining 2017 robotics events, as well as an updated directory of companies and educational institutions, all free to job seekers and researchers. Image courtesy of ICRA via


In this 2-part video, Socrates is interviewed on profound questions of AI and related subjects by Omer Ozdemir for the Turkish website Her-An . In part-2, Socrates discusses AI research and agendas in selected foreign countries, military implications and much more. We highly recommend this very interesting discussion.

And, please check out additional interviews by Danaylov with leading intellectuals of our day at Singularity.FM– you will find well over 200!


Tom offers the viewer his uplifting perspective:

“We live in a hyperloop of robotics ideas and innovation. Blink, and a lot will pass you by. Keep an eye on what’s happening, and you’ll understand it all. Seriously!  These great ideas are disruptive, transformative…and necessary. If we can get close to these ideas and understand their intentions, we can, as humans have done for millennia, adapt and evolve and master each new wave of technological change.  Every great new idea is like an alien arriving on Earth for the very first time. We need to step out, meet it, greet it, understand it and then integrate it into our way of life and living.

“Great Ideas in Robotics is a new breed of online talk show/webcast programming that actively goes on the hunt looking for these great new ideas, finds them and the brainiacs behind them, and then brings it all back to you.” See an interview with David Hanson of Hanson Robotics on Tom's first episode of Great Ideas in Robotics, here:

Tom’s Great Ideas in Roboticst!


“All you need is a path the drone can recognize visually," said Team technical lead, Nikolai Smolyanskiy.  He walked a forest path mapping the terrain with GoPro cameras, and loaded the data to the drone.  It then successfully flew .06 miles down the path, avoiding obstacles. news report cited above includes fascinating video of the path flown as seen by the drone.


Held May 8-11, Xponential 2017 took place in the largest exhibit hall ever dedicated to unmanned systems and robotics, with over 370,000 square feet. The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF),, shot the show, which can be viewed at:

It is our pleasure to offer this survey of drone and UAV engines exhibited at this unprecedented event!

For blown up, expanded  views of these power plants, please visit:, hosted by our friends at, who we thank for providing the detailed views.

Photos by Lucien Miller, CEO of;
editing by Tom Atwood, NREF executive director. © 2017 The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF),


Thanks to Kate Harrison for authoring and passing along this article. Image courtesy of getty. Read the entire article at:

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at], and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at], for their assistance with this report.


Amazon noted that RoboCup 2017 will be held in Nagoya Japan, 27 – 30 July.  A symposium on July 31 features Ms. Ayaka Watanabe, doctoral candidate at the Aichi Institute of Technology, and member of the AIT Pickers (DERA Pickers), who will be interviewed on this exciting new technology that incorporates machine vision and AI to emulate human picking.


The photo shows Sören Schwertfeger in his lab at ShanghaiTech University, fresh from a postdoctorate on autonomous robots earned in Germany. He notes, “You couldn’t have started a lab like mine elsewhere…” He received a grant 6X larger than what he feels he might have received in the U.S. or Europe. His AI lab includes his assistant, a technician and a group of doctoral students. “It’s almost impossible for assistant professors to get this much money,” he said. “The research funding is shrinking in the U.S. and Europe. But it is definitely expanding in China.”

The DOD has been reviewing China’s continuing investments in U.S. AI companies with some concern. For a deeper insight into the state of AI research in Asia, we recommend the reader look to

Photo credit: Sören Schwertfeger testing his latest space detection and scanning robot. Tim France for the NY Times.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC,
for their assistance with this report.


NASA is planning to send a crew to Mars in the 2030s. To meet tomorrow's ambitious goals, the country will need thousands of today's students to follow career paths that will create the next generations of scientists, engineers and space explorers. According to a national survey of 1,000 teachers, as reported by the Aero News Network  ...while just 38 percent of teachers report that a majority of students seem naturally interested in STEM, 83 percent see discussing space-related careers as a potential way to increase student focus on STEM. Other polling highlights include:

• 52 percent of teachers believe a near-term return to the moon would increase students' interest in STEM
• 43 percent of teachers say their schools' curriculum is sufficiently preparing students for a STEM career (12 percent of which say very sufficiently preparing students)
• 23 percent of teachers agree that the current school curriculum is sufficiently preparing students for a career in space exploration

Mars Rover Curiosity Illustration courtesy of NASA/JPL. Our thanks to Charlee Smith of BSI Adhesives for sharing this STEM education-related story!


BIKI is designed to give the operator a drone like experience beneath the waves. Suited for fresh and salt water, it is a great observational tool for hobbyists and educators, and serves well as a diver’s companion underwater robot. Story and images courtesy of


The day began at 9 o’clock in the morning in Nepal at an altitude of just 3867 meters above sea level.  In less than one hour after taking off, the drone fulfilled its mission, it was reported.  Wind gusts reached up to 27 meters/second, but SKAT 640 had no problems.  Two government ministries in Nepal confirmed the 9333 meter altitude. This is a greater altitude than the official world record for light unmanned aircraft weighing under a ton.  Total flight time was 1 hour, 35 minutes.


The movie franchise originated in 1987 and depicts a dedicated police officer who is injured in the line of duty but who returns, “transformed into a powerful cyborg.”  Wikipedia reports that after expanding the RoboCop history via three movies, TV programming, video games and comic books, the franchise has made over $100 million U.S.D. The latest addition was a remake released in 2014.


Curated by industry veteran, Tom Green, Asian Robotics Review offers valuable reports, industry narratives, video programming and more. This slide derives from an Asian Robotics Review report on the Factory of the Future. See details here.


The NY Times report quoted an expert regarding lidar technology, “We believe it will be the basis for autonomous driving,” said Guillaume Devauchelle, who oversees innovation at Valeo, a major parts supplier to automakers.  The report also noted,  “Lidar — pronounced LIE-dar — is shorthand for light detection and ranging. It is a type of sensor that is at the heart of many autonomous car designs and is critical to several worldwide high-resolution mapping efforts.”


Echodyne said that MESA-DAA operates like a phased array radar with true beam scanning in both azimuth and elevation and with built-in search while track (aka track while scan) capabilities. Tracking range on a Cessna 140 has been confirmed out to 3km (see video here) and Phantom 4 drones out to 750m (see video here). The radar provides excellent resolution and accuracy across a broad field of view of ±60° in azimuth (120° total) and ±40° in elevation (80° total). Multiple units can be combined if greater field of view is desired. Story and photos courtesy of Echodyne.


The report notes that: “The new fund has said it would seek to buy minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging businesses to established, multi-billion-dollar firms. It expects to obtain preferred access to long-term investment opportunities worth $100 million or more.”


Xponential 2017 was packed with new technology.  HitecRCD, long famous for its range of high quality servos, has become a real force in the industrial robotics actuator market.  Rajant, represented here piggy-backed onto an X2i radio control model, is taking its long network technology history into the modern world of free-forming kinetic mesch networks among drones on the move.  Boeing sported an impressive unmanned helicopter.  We have not seen this helo on the web and since Xponential 2017 was all about newest technology, this may well be a new market entrant from aviation powerhouse, Boeing.


Designed for a large variety of soldier-carried uses, this Techaya hub also works seamlessly with air and ground UAV and ROV devices. Techaya Inc. is a prime developer, innovator and manufacturer of military-grade, ruggedized COTS and customized IP-based communication solutions.  It seems only a matter of time until we see more devices like this widely available on the civilian market.  MilSource is the exclusive distributor of Techaya’s MILTECH products.  You can reach MilSource at (310) 694-9930 or


The problem that has been identified is human error in the lab where two hands are needed, and in this context, as Tom Green reports, it has been shown that Maholo robots vastly improve the accuracy and reproducibility of lab results.  The report notes, among other details:

A key development for RBI is its software and easy-to-use GUI (graphical interface).  At Maholo, “Researchers can describe experimental workflows intuitively on their PCs. And each workflow is translated and compiled into robotics operations automatically, so scientists can use our robotic system without the need for coding or programming through keyboards.”


Innovator's Magazine reported that  “The Traffic Management of Unmanned Aircraft Systems initiative is being driven by NTU’s Air Traffic Management Research Institute (ATMRI) – a joint research centre by NTU – and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

“Led by NTU robotics expert Professor Low Kin Huat and Mohamed Faisal Bin Mohamed Salleh, ATMRI Senior Research Fellow, the project will work on technologies designed to ensure safety. These will include “smart and safe routing, detect-and-avoid systems, and traffic management to coordinate air traffic,” NTU said.”



We recommend that you peruse this TRR update:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - Today's top stories from The Robot Report. Click over to the site to read these and all the other articles, directories, global maps and events calendar.

•  Mobility, grasping and collaboration at Automate and ProMat shows - Three articles that sift through the 1,250 exhibitors to report on products and technologies companies are buying.

•  CBS News outlines jobs and robotics debate; Intl Federation of Robotics fills in gaps - Does the deployment of robots increase overall jobs? Or reduce them?

•  Vertical farming boasts 130 times more productivity using 95% less water - Are those figures real? Is this a viable alternative to row-crop farming?

•  Fundings, acquisitions and IPOs continue to grow - March saw 29 startups get over $222 million along with eye-popping billion-dollar acquisitions.

•  42 companies providing robots and accessories that collaborate with humans - One research firm predicts that 30% of all new robots will be smart collaborative robots as early as 2018.

The Robot Report strives to keep you informed about new startups, acquisitions, IPOs, fundings and failures; about successes, technological achievements, and forecasts. The Robot Report also has an extensive free worldwide database (and global map) of over 5,000 entities involved in robotics.

Please send any tips, stories and information about new startup companies or companies missing from the global map of robot providers. Also I'd appreciate if you told your friends and associates about The Robot Report.

Thank you,

P.S.: You can follow us on Twitter at @TheRobotReport

Frank Tobe
The Robot Report
Tracking the business of robotics


"Policymakers are flying blind into what has been called the fourth industrial revolution," said Tom M. Mitchell, the E. Fredkin University Professor in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, and Erik Brynjolfsson, the Schussel Family Professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-chairs of the NASEM study.

"Government agencies need to collect different kinds of labor data to accurately assess and predict how computer and robotic technologies will affect the workplace, Mitchell and Brynjolfsson said. Failure to do so could, at best, result in missed opportunities; at worst, it could be disastrous."

04/13/2017 reported that in November, Centaur surveyed the proposed high-speed train route in Northern and Southern California. Equipped with the TAGS-7 gravimeter sensor from Micro-g LaCoste, Centaur gathered very specific data to help authorities develop a comprehensive model of the earth’s structure along the proposed rail route, particularly around numerous fault lines, for better planning and engineering of the rail system. The partnership of Aurora, Quantum Spatial, Seibert & Associates and Micro-g LaCoste worked in support of the University of California, San Diego’s work on the California High Speed Rail project.


The FAA and local governments tend to favor a relatively permissive, open-market approach that will foster UAS industry growth.  The following report by examines the resulting fragmentation of UAS marketing and regulatory approaches at the local level, a natural consequence of this pro-industry-growth philosophy : Report Probes Local Drone Laws: What’s Going on Around the Country?


Welle notes: “    Welle Turns any Surface into a Universal Remote Control Interface for use with: Lights, Windows, TVs, Doors, Thermostats, Coffee Makers, & More -- Controls PowerPoint Presentations & Connects with IFTTT -- For Android & Ios”


Check out Rupprecht’s home page here. The hotlinks you will find there are part of a recent email from Rupprecht to his subscriber list that illustrates his upbeat, helpful everything-drone service.



In this webinar, listeners will be given the opportunity to ask questions. Military Pilots will “consider counter UAS requirements and capabilities,” and thought leaders will address current systems. Inset: speaker Larry Friese, President, Aerial Information Systems, Corp.


As noted by LiveDrive: “LiveDrive delivers industry-changing performance, controllability, precision and power. Its smooth back-drivability provides robots with life-like motion and reaction. With LiveDrive’s low inertia and high force sensitivity, robots equipped with LiveDrive are easy to program and safe to operate in human environments.”

Images courtesy of LiveDrive.


Reuters reported that Japan's second robot-run hotel Henn na Hotel ('strange hotel' in Japanese) opened on Wednesday as a robot-staffed hotel near Tokyo, operating company H.I.S. Co. said. REUTERS/Issei Kato.


As noted in this report, “Today’s jobs — white collar, blue collar or no collar — require more education and interpersonal skills than those in the past. And many of the people whose jobs have already been automated can’t find new ones. Technology leads to economic growth, but the benefits aren’t being parceled out equally. Policy makers have the challenge of helping workers share the gains…  A broad area of agreement: People need to learn new skills to work in the new economy”...  “The best response is to increase the skills of the labor force,” said Gregory Mankiw, an economist at Harvard.


Watch this drone fall apart on impact to safely dissipate energy -- and then instantly snap back together.   The “reassembly” occurs owing to rubber bands that hold the frame firmly together via tension forces exerted on key structural hard points.

Sources: S. Mintchev, S.D. De Rivas and D. Floreano. Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Multicopters, In IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2017.


Hennessy notes that Sunil Johal, policy director at the Mowat Centre think-tank at the University of Toronto, has noted that between 1.5 and 7.5 million human workers could face this challenge in the coming decade, and that nobody’s job is “safe”.

"We are starting to see in fields like medicine, law, investment banking, dramatic increases in the ability of computers to think as well or better than humans. And that's really the game-changer here. Because that's something that we have never seen before."

Illustrations and story courtesy of


David Hambling tells the tale as reported in New Scientist: “A shape-shifting drone takes off like a helicopter and transforms into a plane in mid-air to fly all day on solar power. The drone is designed to provide affordable aerial surveys for farmers, so they can see where to irrigate and use fertilizer… Most drones are not appropriate for this because they have short flight times. Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos and his team at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have therefore taken a new approach.

“The Solar Unmanned Air Vehicle: Quad (SUAV:Q) takes off vertically before unfolding with the help of lightweight powered hinges into a flat, winged aircraft. Its design makes it easier to launch than a fixed-wing drone, and means it can also hover during flight to get a stable view of the land below. It morphs back into the quadcopter formation to land vertically.”

“The idea is that anybody can buy this and carry it around in their pickup truck,” says Papanikolopoulos.”

02/24/2017 reports that China is deploying police robots that can detect fires, monitor pedestrian traffic levels and offer guidance to citizens in the course of a work day. These robots also use face recognition to screen the public for criminals on the lamb.  Hopefully, false positives are very low, as next steps toward our evolving, sorta Orwellian world continue.  Will similar robots be deployed in Western countries?


The BBC reported that the vehicle that did not crash achieved a top speed of 116mph and completed the course.

"One of the cars was trying to perform a manoeuvre, and it went really full-throttle and took the corner quite sharply and caught the edge of the barrier," Roborace's chief marketing officer Justin Cooke told the BBC.

The report continued, "The Devbots are controlled by artificial intelligence software - rather than being remote-controlled by humans - and use a laser-based Lidar (light detection and ranging) system and other sensors to guide themselves. They also communicate to avoid collisions with each other."


As noted by the Academy, thanks to the FAA’s issuance of Part 107 regulations for small unmanned aircraft (UAS/drone) operations last August, all it takes is about two hours at an accredited FAA test center to pass the Part 107 exam and qualify for a commercial “Remote Pilot Airman Certificate.”  Exam takers must be prepared to demonstrate that they are ready to operate safely and in full compliance with FAA regulations in the US airspace. Please note that the cost of the Academy’s course preparation and presentation has been designed to meet the client’s budget.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret),

and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC

for their assistance with this report

Please contact David Place at the above email address to be added to his highly informative, FREE, ongoing blog on unmanned systems and robotics news, which was the source of this story.


Be sure and take a look at the current update to The Robot Report, at Founder Frank Tobe does a heck of a fine job providing snapshots of the business of robotics, complete with global drill down maps, news updates, information on robotics programs at universities, and tons more.  Today's update at was particularly eye-opening and informative.


As many as 1,000 colorful drones lit up the sky at a recent festival in Guangzhou, southern China.  The BBC reported that each drone had a designated route to fly, and there was no mention of collisions. This wondrous aerial light show may have set a new Guinness world record.


Researchers have developed tiny 1.7-inch diameter quadcopters that can transfer pollen to flower stigmata, thereby insuring the pollination of crops that feed the world. 

As noted in an online post  by The Economist magazine, the team developing the drone is led by Eijiro Miyako, of the National Institute of Advanced Indusrial Science and Technology, in Tsukuba, Japan. The prototype is just 1.6 inches wide, just over double the length of a honey bee worker, and carries paintbrush hairs that are just sticky enough to gather pollen but not too sticky to make the transfer to the stigmata.




The Verge reported on the new Cargo robot from Piaggio. With a top speed of 22mph, Gita can follow its owner or navigate autonomously as an independent, mobile robot.  Notably, it will not only make deliveries but is expected to augment construction jobs, infrastructure repair and maintenance and other tasks requiring ongoing equipment transfers and updates.


Computers have now beat professional human poker players. Bluffing was part of the robotic strategy, and this points to another demonstration of uncanny robotic intelligence pushing into the realm of human-like capability.

Robots are not self-aware at this stage, but each little bit of progress in the cognitive capabilities of machines points to this longer term possibility, one predicted by some of our leading scientists and, notably, by Ray Kurzweil in his books and many presentations on the "singularity." For the details on the poker bot, check the Reuters news story here.  Image courtesy of


As noted at, the Forager-W (for wheeled) is an Omni-chassis in a family of autonomous robotic vehicles (ARV) from c-Link Systems, Inc. The Omni-chassis creates the ability to build upon a unified drive chassis enhancing the creation of different end-usage systems.  The Forager-W Omni-chassis contains a locomotion system, a power plant and all the control electronics. The chassis itself is constructed of aluminum with all-welded seams thus the finished chassis is IP64 rated.

Locomotion is achieved through a 6-wheeled system that is electrically driven.  Tires are aggressive or the turf saving type; tires are dependent on intended usage. Steering is accomplished through the  use of the industry standard “skid-steer.”

The main power plant is a 160Ah / 640Ah battery system.  The 80Ah system currently is shipping and is comprised of SLA batteries.  The 640Ah is an optional system due to the cost of LiPo batteries. Both systems are comprised in banks, allowing change-out, and contain monitoring/charging circuits. The monitoring/charging modules communicate with the core processor to relay information to the operator.

Electronics system comprises a multiprocessor core block, locomotion system controller, inertial navigation system, payload control system/interface and communications.  The system resides in a water-tight case (IP68) that can be removed in the field.  Power distribution/charging/monitoring are contained in a second case similar to that of the main electronics.  The systems are based on Freescale Semiconductor’s Tower System. 

And don’t miss c-Link’s diminutive Volebot, for search & rescue at disaster sites.


According to Cubetto founder, Filippo Yacob, Cubetto is a gender-neutral coding toy for children ages 3 to 6.  Children are able to program a robot using hands on blocks that require neither language, screens nor additional devices.  Cubetto is a learning toy for anyone anywhere in the world, and suitable for the youngest audience in the history of computer programming.  At the moment there is a Cubetto in more than 90 countries.

Yacob indicates the easiest way to get hold of a Cubetto is through, where the company sells almost worldwide. It is in a few select retail stores in the U.S. like B8TA in Palo Alto, CA. “We’re focused on getting into more retail stores across the US”, Cubetto notes.

According to Yacob, the world of Cubetto is vast, with the programs children can write with Cubetto literally numbering in the trillions.  The company offers new maps and story books called Adventure Paks released throughout the year.

The founder believes Cubetto’s real value is in the content provided. “We want to know that children, parents and educators get a lot of engagement and play out of Cubetto, which is why we’re focusing on extensions, only. Our R&D lab is hard at work on new toys, but nothing we can divulge just yet.” Photo of Filippo Yacob courtesy of Cubetto.

By JoAnn Laing, The NREF Robotics Toy Editor


 The new 2017 event calendar from is a must-have for your desktop.

Information is provided as follows:

• A3 Business Forum (RIA, AIA & MCMA), January 18-20, Orlando, FL
• RoboDEX Conf & Expo and Smart Factory Expo, January 18-20, Tokyo, Japan
• IoT Tech Expo Global, January 23-24, London, UK

See Travel Planning: 2017 Robotics Events Calendar, here.


Nikola Danaylov, aka “Socrates”, has just published a brand new book, his first, and we cannot wait to get our hands on it.  Nikola's video interviews and podcasts are compelling, produced with a hint of impish humor but they are always trenchant—he knows the questions to ask in the vast arena of AI and the Singularity. 

For an intro to Socrates' interview style as seen in his very popular video series, we recommend this compilation of past programming highlights. You can also enjoy his interviews as podcasts at Singularity.FM.

Now, he has taken some of the best of these insightful exchanges and rendered them into a book, "Conversations with the Future: 21 Visions for the 21st Century."

The ebook version is available here for just $9.99 

A paperback version can be found for $29.99 on Amazon CreateSpace

NREF has no connection to this book and we recommend it solely based upon Danaylov's past work, from which the book derives. 



The most pivotal four years in the efflorescence of robotics that the world has yet seen is beginning to unfold. This unprecedented period of technology proliferation is projected to span 2017 – 2020, notes Tom Green, industry expert and founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Asian Robotics Review (ARR). As one section, implores, “Don’t Forget India” and the important questions of how India’s brilliant technological expertise will converge with the work of the East Asian tech giants. You will find coverage of robotics in Australia and New Zealand, as well.

A year in planning, this new site is highly recommended and offers many articles written in a lively and highly informative tone.  Asian Robotics Review is a breath of fresh air in robotics reporting and essential reading for AI specialists, technology journalists, robotics professionals and all serious tech hounds. 

Don’t miss ARR’s projections for what to look for in robotics and IT in 2017.

Also, please note: Tom, formerly editor-in-chief of Robotics Business Review at EH Publishing, presented an industry overview at RoboBusiness 2016 in Silicon Valley, right before debuting ARR. Tom noted that China, Japan and Korea are at the forefront of the new robotics-based “4th industrial revolution.”  Tom recounted how Fanuc and Cisco created feedback loops that enabled “zero downtime” production, generating $80million in savings this year, alone.  He observed that other feedback loops in data collection revealed why parts fail and how to manufacture better products as the factory floor evolved into a research laboratory. View Tom Green’s fascinating talk, here.

Learn more about Tom’s remarkable background here.


Job Automation may be arriving later than expected, reports Vanessa Bates Ramirez, who is associate editor of Singularity Hub.  For example, a teacher’s job, involves creating lesson plans, answering questions, grading assignments and conveying information to students, and though a computer can do the latter easily, the subjective, inter-active tasks in teaching are still well beyond today’s robots. The approach to this study was summarized in a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute:

“The report is the result of two years of research on automation technologies and their possible effects on the economy. Instead of focusing on sectors of the economy or whole jobs, researchers broke down 800 different occupations into the tasks and activities they’re made up of, then analyzed the automation potential of each activity.” Image courtesy of Shutterstock.



GLXP is offering $20 million to the first privately funded team to (1) land a spacecraft on the moon, (2) drive a vehicle 500 meters and (3) send back a high-resolution image of the moon as seen by the robot. For additional views of the Moon Express vehicle, click here.


The second team to accomplish these three tasks will receive $5 million in prize money. An additional $5 million is slated for those who accomplish a number of additional tasks, bringing the total funding to over $45 million. Prizes expire if not claimed by December 31, 2017.  Other teams participating include SpaceIL from Israel, Team Indus from India, Japan’s Hakuto, and an international partnership named Synergy Moon.

When you consider that it takes a radio wave almost 1.3 seconds to travel from the earth to the moon, the great distance the X-Prize robots will need to fly before undertaking the three required tasks can be put into perspective.
--the editors




Swarm demos were shown at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. The November 2016 event was held at the Zhuhai international exhibition center.  Popular Mechanics revealed dozens of Chinese fixed wing drones in an aerial display, ostensibly flying autonomously.  

Said to be an experiment in both FPV (first person view) and swarm technology, the event was filmed by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, Poisson and Tsinghua University. A swarm of sixty-seven (67) X-6 Skywalker hobby flying wings were shown flying at relatively low altitudes near large, inactive wind turbines.  The drones can be seen flying impressive distances, in formation, without collisions. The video claims that eventually, one pilot will be able to control “hundreds or thousands of drones.”  

The Pentagon has been testing small handheld drones as well. 

Maritime swarm bots are also under active development. recently reported on maritime swarm bots being tested by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and partners


Frank Tobe, founder of, notes that funding of robotics start-ups was up 50% in 2016, compared to 2015. He lists 128+ robotics startups, here, with capsule descriptions.  

Frank plans another report within a week detailing 49 2016 acquisitions involving billions of dollars, so keep your eyes on TheRobotReport!   Photo courtesy of


3D Rapid Prototyping offers the largest 3D printer we have seen, with a bed that is a yard square, a suite of scanners, and more. The video shows the 3D printer in action.


The video linked here is a short demonstration of a grasping hand that moves via wrist action.  See MatterHackers extensive online showroom tour, here.  But don't go! Here is some great news -- two Brits are making free prosthetic hands and arms for uncounted kids, using this very technology with a custom spin. Great news to kick off 2017!  See them here!




5D Robotics offers revolutionary solutions for positioning and localizing your vehicle or robot.  5D's technology is based on ultra-wide band radio that provides 2cm positioning, with 5cm localization for navigation in GPS-denied environments, in any mobile air or ground vehicle.  5D software can be used by ground or aerial vehicles of any size category, from large trucks to tiny drones.  Like many technologies that have expanded into a variety of commercial applications, versions of 5D’s systems are already deployed by the military, and proven. Watch NREF's exclusive interview with 5D Chief Marketing Officer Phil Mann for the exciting details. 


This video, produced by Incredibles,  offers good perspective on home robot technology. Although at times a little corny, the videos are illustrative, and include the following robots that were available in 2016: Tapia, Chip, Ninebot Segway, Aido and Zenbo. Buddy, released earlier, also gets honorable mention. Click here to see the robots!



Movie producer and director, Vlogger, inventor, media wizard and online tech advisor Casey Neistat published a video of himself in a Santa suit, suspended from a large drone, flying over wintry, snowy scenes, over the Christmas weekend that went viral.  

What not nearly as many people may have viewed, however, is the fascinating Vlog in which Casey explains the engineering behind the drone design and the standards and redundancy built into that amazing machine.  It has a robust power system that would rival that of a large motorcycle. Click here to see the rest of the story.


As reported by in a collection of top photos of the year, Kelly Grovier looked at the relationships between humans and machine, and felt that a painting, Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913, reflected this close relationship between humans and machines.

The contest, in the Swiss city of Zurich, included “competitors whose physical shapes are a fusion of athleticism and cutting-edge engineering”. Grovier found echoes in Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913), “which seems to liquify flesh and machine into a newly discovered amalgam.”  Photo courtesy of EPA/Alexandra Wey.


SAMSUNG's new patent application for a next generation drone looks like a UFO, a commentator at notes. According to Slashgear's report, the patent reveals a circular design with supporting legs and an open area on the top for air intake.  Will this design result in more alleged UFO sightings and social media flooded with video of "flying saucers"? 


With millions of drones coming to market over the next few years, there is growing demand for professional repair services. Unmanned Systems and Solutions (USAS) announced the opening of a 120,000 square foot facility that will be able to quickly repair drones sold by all major manufacturers, reported. USAS's team of American-based technicians will quickly repair and trouble-shoot your drone to maximize your service availability. 

USAS will evaluate your drone for repair upon receipt of the vehicle and information on its make and model. $23 of the evaluation fee  will be applied to the repair cost, and completion of necessary repairs will be typically done in 2-3 business days.


Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret),, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC,, for their assistance with this report.


Jose Antunes reported in Commercial UAV NEWS that by manipulating aerial observations recorded by Insitu ScanEagle drones with Inexa Control Software, 3D images of forest fires can be displayed in miniature electronic dioramas that, in turn, can be viewed using the Microsoft Hololens. This technology permits the remote direction of firefighting operations and the control of wildfires in new ways.

Insitu President and CEO, Ryan Hartman, was optimistic and enthused about the benefits of this technology. Antunes quoted Hartman: “Through our work in sectors such as energy, firefighting and railway monitoring, we have learned that these industries are looking to us as a trusted advisor,” said Insitu President and CEO Ryan M. Hartman. “Insitu brings both the technology to assist companies with their information collection and processing needs and the experience gained through more than 20 years as a professional aviation company. Unmanned systems offer tremendous promise for industry, and Insitu’s mission is to ensure that these technologies are employed in the most professional and safe manner possible to minimize risk and maximize our customers’ return on investment.”


AS reported by Sandra Helsel of the UK’s Mirror, at, the Russians are developing a life-size humanoid robot, named Fedor, for use on the International Space Station (ISS) and for exploring the moon.  Russia has also announced ambitions to send humans to the moon by 2031, and plans to have Fedor’s successor, there, helping establish a moon colony.  

The report continued:

Fedor stands 6ft tall, weighs between 106-160 kg depending on extra equipment, and can lift up to 20 kg of cargo.

Sergei Khurs, head of the project and director of the National Centre for Technology Development and Basic Robotics, said: “During space walking missions and on other planets, astronauts will rely on robots.

Alexander Grebenshchikov, director of the TSNIImash laboratory of space robotics, said: "Every hour of work of cosmonauts on space walks costs from $2 million to $4 million (USD).

"The use of robots for routine operations in the future will also spare additional time of the crew for leisure or for the fulfillment of other important tasks."

Fedor is the equivalent in Russian for Theodore, although in this case it is an acronym standing for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research.

Photos 1. And 2. Courtesy of YouTube/RokossovskiyKonstantin; Photo 3 courtesy of ESA/Foster&Partners


The Link Foundation is accepting research proposals from doctoral candidates in ocean engineering and instrumentation research (e.g., robotics and sensor systems, and related areas), and will award selected candidates grants of $28,500. There are no citizenship restrictions. This is an exciting opportunity for qualified candidates!  Applications are available online. Proposals must be received on or before February 15, 2017. 


Objectives:     To foster ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation research; to enhance both the theoretical and practical knowledge and applications of ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation research; and to disseminate the results of that research through lectures, seminars and publications.

The Awards:   On the basis of an application to the Foundation in the form of a research proposal, awards will be made to doctoral candidates enrolled in academic institutions located in the United States and Canada. Each award will consist of a grant of $28,500. There are no citizenship restrictions.

An independent panel of experts in the fields of ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation will review the applications. The main evaluation criteria include the degree of innovation, technical merit and relevance to ocean engineering/instrumentation of the proposed research. Additionally, each candidate should demonstrate intellectual ability and achievement, evidence of creativity and initiative and the potential for a career that will impact ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation.

Application Forms and Guidelines:  Available online at, or write to/email:  

Dr. Javad Hashemi, Administrator
Link Foundation Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation Ph.D. Fellowship Program
Florida Atlantic University, Department of Ocean & Mechanical Engineering
101 N. Beach Rd., Dania Beach, FL 33004-3023 USA


Deadline:        Proposals must be received on or before February 15, 2017 



                           RoboBusiness 2016 Highlights

       Presented by The National Robotics Education Foundation

The 12th Annual RoboBusiness conference and trade show – a highly anticipated exhibition of state-of-the-art robotics – was held in Silicon Valley at the San Jose Convention Center on September 28 – 29, 2016.  These conference highlights are provided courtesy of The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF),  One of the largest robotics conferences in the nation, this prestigious gathering featured the latest in bleeding edge automation.


Tom Green on The Robotics-based 4th Industrial Revolution

Tom Green, formerly editor-in-chief of Robotics Business Review, presented an industry overview. Tom noted that China, Japan and Korea are at the forefront of the new robotics-based “4th industrial revolution.”  Green recounted how Fanuc and Cisco created feedback loops that enabled “zero downtime” production, generating $80million in savings this year, alone.  He observed that other feedback loops in data collection revealed why parts fail and how to manufacture better products as the factory floor evolved into a research laboratory. View Green’s fascinating talk, here


[Editor’s note: Today, Tom Green is Editor-in-Chief of Asian Robotics Review, which we highly recommend for an Asian and global perspective on the next several years in the development of robotics applications, hardware and software.]

RoboBusiness 2016 Presentation: The Robots in Our Future
HP Fellow, VP, and innovative inventor Will Allen holds 70 U.S. patents. He is experienced in the founding of new technologies and in their commercialization. In this lively talk at RoboBusiness 2016, he brings a fresh perspective to predicting the robots in our future and the timing of their deployment. View Presentation


SRI MotoBot, Micro Robots, Control Feedback Systems & Abacus Robot Drive
SRI International is a pioneering robotics company that you want to watch! Robotics division mechanical engineer Mike Stevens addressed the amazing tech in development at SRI. A current SRI focus is a life-size humanoid robot that rides a motorcycle, called MotoBot. It is a collaborative effort between Yamaha and SRI, and is a fully integrated technology system that drives a YXF-R1M motorcycle. It includes robotic transmissions and high efficiency motor controllers as well as standard bike handlebar and foot controls.  That's just one of several robotics arenas, from micro-robots to new, near-frictionless drives, addressed by Stevens in this must-see exclusive interview.



The KOBI Company wins Pitchfire Competition
RoboBusiness 2016 was brimming with technological advances and entrepreneurial spirit, and the Pitchfire program was one more exciting element in the mix. In this competition, judges vote for the most promising entrepreneurial launch based on 2-minute presentations delivered in a fast-paced competition open to the public. At the end of the first day, The Kobi Company won the competition based on its autonomous robot that can maintain your lawn, clean up leaves and remove snow from your grounds. Read Full Story


RETHINK ROBOTICS Collaborative Robots Herald a New Era
Jim Lawton, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Rethink Robotics, explains that their new generation of collaborative robots are safe, inexpensive, and designed to work side-by-side with humans.  There is no need for a protective cage. Moreover, one of their latest collaborative robots, Sawyer (shown), can be “trained” through interaction with a human collaborator.  View interview and demo, here.


Humanoids for Disabled Children, Companionship and Mentoring
Next year, AvatarMIND will be moving from Nanjing, China to the U.S. where these remarkable humanoids will be used in healthcare to develop therapies for autistic children, and in other markets as companion robots. The Price point will be relatively low compared to earlier humanoid robots, CEO John S. Ostrem notes, which will allow far greater access to these helpful avatars. John offers details, here.


Motion Capture for Anything Robotic Real or Virtual
Based in San Leandro, CA, PhaseSpace offers motion control solutions for research, industrial arts and graphics arts communities.  Anything “motion” so consider this a must view for both real world and animated robots of any type that crawl, burrow, slither, walk, swim or fly!  McSheery explains, here.  


SIEMENS Champions a Technological Future with Global "NEXT47" Initiative
This is the first of four exciting interviews with SIEMENS from RoboBusiness 2016.

SIEMENS AG is a global organization that focuses on power management, automation, digitalization, medical technologies, robotics, and far more. Several of SIEMENS robotics divisions exhibited at RoboBusiness 2016. These included a new initiative, “Next 47,” that fosters the development of entrepreneurial start-ups, worldwide. Dr. Rudolf Freytag, CEO of Innovative Ventures at Siemens, described Next 47’s global reach and how it assists robotics business start-ups in meeting regulatory, financial and marketing challenges. Please click here for Dr. Freytag’s fascinating introduction to Next 47:

Launching Robotics Entrepreneurs from Siemens in Berkley
Carolin Funk, Venture Director of Technology, Siemens, works out of the Siemens’ Berkley, CA, office.  On the leading edge in the Next 47 project, Carolin helps companies like Modbot (please see our earlier Modbot news release) get established. Click herefor her informative comments on launching an impressive range of technology start-ups.

MODBOT Robotics Launch Boosted by Siemens Next47
Modbot was founded by Daniel Pizzata and is one of the start-ups offered business support by Siemens. Modbots are modular robots and robotic components that can be used to augment mechanical processes on a production line and in other automation contexts. Modbot was founded to make these modular systems widely available to industry. Daniel offers key details, here.  For more on Modbot, click here.

SIEMENS Software Takes the Microsoft Hololens into New Applications
At RoboBusiness 2016, Moshe Schwimmer, Innovation Catalyst at Siemens, described software Siemens has created for the Hololens (a Microsoft product that enables visualization of virtual robots and robot parts). Using a pair of Hololens goggles, one can see virtual parts superimposed on your office table, or suspended in the air, in what is described as “augmented reality.”  Click herefor Schwimmer’s thoughts on the benefits of designing machines using virtual reality tools—a technology of the future that is here, today. 


Interviews in this series were produced by NREF videographer Gene Beley, and hosted by NREF executive director, Tom Atwood,,  Presentations were recorded by Gene Beley.  NREF is a 501c3 nonprofit that indexes and points to robotics-based STEM curricula and provides selected product reviews and news reports on an ongoing basis.

If you are running an event or launching a product or initiative that you would like to see covered on our website, or if you would like to contribute to our coverage with an article or multimedia video, please email your proposal(s) to Tom Atwood at the above link—thank you!


© 2016 The National Robotics Education Foundation



For immediate release

November 23, 2016

UK Officials Embark on West Coast Tour to Highlight Advanced Drone Regulations

Last week a delegation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experts from the United Kingdom met with industry leaders in California to highlight the United Kingdom’s regulatory leadership.

The United Kingdom has sophisticated regulations governing the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) for commercial use. Currently many leading companies use the UK for their drones testing, such as Amazon.

Mr. Tim Johnson (Policy Director, UK Civil Aviation Authority) and Dr. Michael Clark (Deputy Director, International Aviation, Safety and Environment, UK Department for Transport) spoke with companies, policy makers, and media to highlight the UK’s global leadership in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drones) testing and regulations.

Dr. Clark remarked: “This was a fantastic visit to see where the US and UK can further collaborate and learn from one another about UAV testing and delivery. I’m returning to London and already have ideas for a few policy changes to ensure we get the most of the drone economy.”

Mr. Johnson agreed. “It was also good to discuss with our American counterparts how we can jointly tackle issues such as safety, security and privacy, or using drones for public projects like inspecting power lines or helping with search-and-rescue missions.”

The UK partnered with Ms. Monica England, Marketing Director, 5D Robotics, Inc. to host a private reception in San Jose the first night of Drone World Expo. Other events that took place included a panel discussion at the Drone World Expo in San Jose, speaking at Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s SoCal Aerospace Council, and meetings with industry leaders such as Tesla Foundation and Qualcomm to discuss the future of the drone industry.

“It’s a good feeling to know that the UK is proactively looking to collaborate with San Diego companies in different areas of unmanned technology and autonomous innovation,” said Monica England.

The San Diego Lindbergh Chapter of AUVSI hosted the group of experts later in the week at their bi-monthly networking reception to discuss their perspective on the growing unmanned systems market in the United Kingdom.

There is still work to do regarding drones and their usage, but for now it seems the UK is remaining ahead of the curve and endeavouring to remain a leader in this new technology.

# # #

For more info, contact:

Mr. Matt Reents

Head of Politics, Press, & Public Affairs

British Consulate-General, Los Angeles




AUVSI San Diego

The San Diego Lindbergh Chapter is dedicated to the advancement of Unmanned Systems and Technology in the greater Southwest region. The Chapter enthusiastically engages in initiatives with the public and private sectors for the advancement and advocacy of Unmanned Systems, and is a value-added resource for the integration and interoperability of space, air, ground, sea and undersea systems. For more information, please visit

Science & Innovation Network:

The Science & Innovation Network, a UK Government initiative, works internationally to influence and leverage opportunities in the science and innovation policies of governments, businesses and academia, informing UK policy, and promoting ‘best with best’ collaboration between the UK and other nations. For more information on our work, please see our blog at

UK Department for International Trade:

The Department for International Trade (DIT) helps businesses export and grow into global markets. We also help overseas companies locate and grow in the UK. brings together information about investing in the UK. It promotes our country as the natural choice for overseas investment. It includes:

• reasons why an overseas business should invest in the UK

• sector-specific information about the UK economy, starting with automotive, creative

industries, energy, financial and professional services, life sciences and technology

• a way for overseas businesses to contact DIT staff in their country

Contact your local DIT office on 1-310-843-2965.

UK Civil Aviation Authority:

The CAA’s primary aim is to enable the full and safe integration of all UAS operations into the UK’s total aviation system. As the UK's specialist aviation regulator CAA ensures that:

• the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards

• consumers have choice, value for money, are protected and treated fairly when they fly

• CAA drives improvements in airlines and airports’ environmental performance

• the aviation industry manages security risks effectively.

CAA are a public corporation, established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator.

UK Department for Transport:

DFT works with agencies and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. They plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move. DFT is supported by 19 agencies and public bodies.


In the Government Defense department at, Charles Murray reports that it's still possible to earn an engineering degree for an annual tuition of less than $20,000! He reviews some of the best schools for those seeking an engineering degree.  Capsule summaries of various schools are provided, for example: "The University of Wisconsin-Platteville features a stellar engineering program at a tuition cost of just $15,339 for out-of-staters. Its curriculum includes accredited degrees in civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical and software engineering. And its award-winning Women in Engineering program has boosted the school’s female presence by an amazing 70% since 2010. (Source: By James Steakley - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, " Photo is of  San Jose State, in the middle of Silicon Valley.


Under a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award granted to Near Earth Autonomy (NEA), NEA will develop systems enabling safe unmanned operation during unexpected contingencies such as GPS-denied conditions. 

The announcement noted that these UAS systems will survey crops, inspect large structures, deliver cargo, and take on fire-fighting and search and rescue. They will offer solutions for “wind disturbances, loss of power, and engine and sensor failures. The ACS will be a fully autonomous system that can discover and adapt to changes in unpredictable environments, while accomplishing the mission goals, with minimal or no human involvement.”


SRI International is a robotics company to watch.  A current SRI focus is a life-size humanoid robot called MotoBot that rides a motorcycle. The bike has been driven on a Daytona size track at 200mph.  In our exclusive interview, Mike Stevens also discusses other robotics technologies SRI is pioneering, including micro robots, end effectors used on off-the-shelf arms, tactile and haptic feedback, vision systems built into robot hands, the new Abacus transmission drive (toothless, low backlash for efficiency) and more. Learn about amazing SRI robotics developments here:

Our RoboBusiness 2016 interviews were hosted by NREF executive director Tom Atwood,, and produced by NREF videographer Gene Beley,


HP Fellow, VP, and innovative inventor Will Allen holds 70 U.S. patents. He is experienced in the founding of new technologies and in their commercialization.  Please click here to view his fascinating presentation at RoboBusiness 2016:

This video was recorded and produced by NREF videographer Gene Beley,


At the end of the first day, The Kobi Company won the Pitchfire competition based on its autonomous robot that can maintain your lawn, clean up leaves and remove snow from your grounds. Photo credit:The Kobi Company/Steven Waelbers.

Fifteen hopeful entrants had given their best elevator pitch before a packed hall filled with attendees and a panel of respected venture capital judges.  The Kobi Company, taking first place, won instant celebrity status, a business coaching program and $5,000 in cash!  They plan to sell 10 Kobi beta versions by the end of 2016 and integrate customer feedback into the product as production ramps up in 2017.


Jim Lawton, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Rethink Robotics, explains that their new generation of collaborative robots are safe, inexpensive, and designed to work side-by-side with humans.  There is no need for a protective cage. Moreover, Sawyer can be “trained” through interaction with a human collaborator.  See a demo here:


Next year, AvatarMIND will be moving from Nanjing, China to the U.S. where these remarkable humanoids will be used in healthcare, to develop therapies for autistic children, and other markets.  


The price point will be relatively low compared to earlier humanoid robots, CEO John S. Ostrem notes, which will allow far greater access to these helpful avatars. John offers details, here:


Based in San Leandro, CA, PhaseSpace offers motion control solutions for research, industrial arts and graphics arts communities.  Anything “motion” so consider this a must view for both real world and animated robots of any type that crawl, burrow, slither, walk, swim or fly!  McSheery explains recent advances here:


Carolin Funk, Venture Director of Technology, Siemens, works out of the Siemens’ Berkley, CA, office.  On the leading edge in the Next 47 project, Carolin helps companies like Modbot (please see our earlier Modbot news release) get established. Click here for her informative comments on launching an impressive range of technology start-ups:

Siemens interviews in this series were produced by NREF videographer Gene Beley, and hosted by NREF executive director, Tom Atwood,


Modbot was founded by Daniel Pizzata and is one of the start-ups offered business support by Siemens. Modbots are modular robots and robotic components that can be used to augment mechanical processes on a production line and in other automation contexts. Modbot was founded to make these modular systems widely available to industry. Daniel offers key details:

For more information, click here:



At RoboBusiness 2016, Moshe Schwimmer, Innovation Catalyst at Siemens, describes software Siemens has created for the Hololens (a Microsoft product that enables visualization of virtual robots and robot parts). Using a pair of Hololens goggles, one can see virtual parts superimposed on your office table, or suspended in the air, in what is described as “augmented reality.” 


Schwimmer speaks to the benefits of designing machines using virtual reality tools—a technology of the future that is here, today:


SIEMENS AG is a global organization that focuses on power management, automation, digitalization, medical technologies, robotics, and far more. Several of SIEMENS robotics divisions exhibited at RoboBusiness 2016. These included a new initiative, “Next 47,” that fosters the development of entrepreneurial start-ups, worldwide. Dr. Rudolf Freytag, CEO of Innovative Ventures at Siemens, described Next 47’s global reach and how it assists robotics business start-ups in meeting regulatory, financial and marketing challenges. 

This is the first of several exciting interviews with SIEMENS we will be sharing from RoboBusiness 2016. Please click here for Dr. Freytag’s fascinating introduction to Next 47: 

Videography by Gene Beley.



The 12th Annual RoboBusiness conference and trade show – a highly anticipated exhibition of state-of-the-art robotics – was held in Silicon Valley at the San Jose Convention Center on September 28 – 29, 2016.  One of the largest robotics conferences in the nation, this prestigious gathering featured the latest in bleeding edge automation.

Among the presentations we recorded was an industry state-of-the-nation overview by Tom Green, editor-in-chief of Robotics Business Review. Tom noted that China, Japan and Korea are at the forefront of the new robotics-based “4th industrial revolution.”

Green recounted how Fanuc and Cisco created feedback loops that enabled “zero downtime” production, generating $80million in savings this year, alone.  Other feedback loops in data collection revealed why parts fail and how to manufacture better products as the factory floor evolved into a research laboratory. View Green’s fascinating talk at:

10/30/2016 is a listing of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 80 agencies across federal government. These include technical, scientific, ideation, and creative competitions where the U.S. government seeks innovative solutions from the public, bringing the best ideas and talent together to solve mission-centric problems.  More than $220 million in prize money has been offered since 2010, along with valuable and unique incentive prizes.

·  Find hundreds of competitions that cover a wide range of interests and require varying levels of skills and abilities in order to participate.

·  Discover something of interest to you, sorting by type of challenge and by the agency hosting the competition.

·  Competitions are listed in chronological order, from most recent launched to older, closed competitions going back to 2010.

Some competitions are hosted on third-party, non-government sites. Clicking the link to the challenge competition will take you directly to the host website.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret),, Robin E. Alexander, President ATC,, and Leonard Ligon, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration / Operations Management,  for their assistance with this report.



Intel has aggressively entered the commercial drone market in recent months with a few products that suggest growing momentum. The latest is the Falcon 8+, a company-branded product to be introduced in North America. Previously Intel had announced its consumer drone, the Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense technology for intelligent obstacle navigation, as well as the Intel Aero Platform for developers. The Falcon 8+ adds to its offerings and represents its commitment to innovative technologies in the commercial space. Intel states that the Falcon 8 offers the best weight to payload ratio and best in class stability in harsh conditions, including “magnetic disturbances.”  The Falcon 8+ includes a high precision GPS and is supported by a large reseller and support network. 

Building on the AscTec Falcon 8 system Intel has announced the release of the Intel Falcon 8+ for North American markets. This advanced system includes the Intel Falcon 8+ UAV, Intel Cockpit for ground control, as well as the Intel Powerpack to power the UAV. The Intel Falcon 8+ is Intel’s first Intel-branded commercial drone. It is also powered with the triple-redundant AscTec Trinity autopilot. The system provides detailed images down to millimeter accuracy and gives valuable structural analysis that helps users detect and prevent further damage to infrastructure.


Aaron Mehta of reported that the Obama administration has coordinated an agreement by 40+ countries that will help manage the import and export of armed unmanned systems in a bid to facilitate creating global norms for trade in unmanned, robotic weapons systems. Absent from the list are China, Russia, India and Israel.  Photo: John Moore/Getty Images.

In addition to the US, signatories include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. 

10/10/2016 reported that Clearpath Robotics has raised $30million in funding to further build its business carrying payloads and lifting and placing palettes in warehouses and factories. With clients like John Deere and GE, and an exceptional safety record, Clearpath Robotics has seen growing equity funding now approaching about $41.5 million.  Warehouse and factory floor markets are ideal for robotic automation and represent a quickly expanding industry.  

Clearpath CEO and co-founder Matt Rendall offered, “Boxes and pallets moving around the world in the global supply chain are the circulatory system for global commerce. We believe if we can move them more efficiently we can do profound things for the economy.” Images courtesy of Otto Motors.



C41SRNET reported that Norway’s Maritime Robotics is partnering with Liquid Robotics, the American manufacturer of the Wave Glider underwater drone, to sell products and integration services to Nordic countries. Relevant markets include maritime security, meteorology and oceanography, flight tracking, wind farming and more. Photo courtesy of Liquid Robotics. Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), via David’s Unmanned PLACE,, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC,, for their assistance with this report.

The report noted:

"Maritime Robotics is now an authorized partner to sell Liquid Robotics' Wave Gliders and associated mission and integration services to customers throughout the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland," a Liquid Robotics announcement said. 

"The Maritime Robotics partnership brings valuable expertise in creating and delivering high value, sustainable maritime solutions for today's applications of maritime security, fish tracking & monitoring and meteorology and oceanography," Liquid Robotics said. "Additionally, this partnership will address the emerging commercial applications of wind farming, aquaculture and commercial flight tracking." 


Aviation Week reports that Japan’s defense planners foresee automated, robotic wingmen in the 2030s that will not only carry sensors as forward scouts, but which will eventually be robotic weapons systems that will fire on command when ordered to do so by human pilots. This was reported in a technology roadmap published by the Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA).  The AvWeek summary did not suggest any autonomous decision making by wingmen scout robots.

The AvWeek story continues:

"The plan divides unmanned aircraft into five types, including the two simplest—small, portable ones and those that operate with line-of-sight communications—which Japan already has in service. A third category, which the country is still working on, are those that need relay communications by satellite, such as types the U.S. has relied on for years, like the General Atomics MQ-1 and MQ-9 and the Northrop Grumman Q-4 in various versions. Then there are pilotless combat aircraft and, lastly, aerostats and solar-powered airplanes, both for extremely long endurance."


NREF was at the recent RoboBusiness conference in San Jose, CA, in full force, and will present a series of interviews with attending robot vendors, here, at, within several days, stay tuned!  Shown is a high resolution collaborative robot arm from Rethink Robotics.

"The manufacturing factory of the future is up and running today – in local job shops and global manufacturing giants, and everywhere in between.  Our smart,collaborative robots are leading to a more productive tomorrow. Now’s your chance to be a part of it."


The “world’s first printable open-source humanoid robot” is being presented, tonight, as we go to press, at Pivotal Labs, in NYC. Check out this company dedicated to Japanese – U.S. start-up initiatives.

Meet the Humanoid Robot!

This is our 15th event, and we're thrilled to introduce a robotics startup from Japan. PLEN2 is the world's first printable open-source humanoid robot. The team behind PLEN will share us stories from behind the scenes and demo the bot. We will have a chance to play and test PLEN2 after. See you all there!

If you want to learn about cross-cultural business between US-Japanese markets, discover new technology, and meet other enthusiastic technologists, please come and join us at Pivotal Labs! (and hang out afterwards at a bar nearby)  



DARPA's new Dragnet program is designed to monitor all drones in the skies over any city. Initially conceived for military purposes, it’s ultimate use was never doubted as government agencies plot a path forward in the management of low altitude aircraft flying above municipalities.  How to identify and then manage unwanted surveillance drones is being addressed by DARPA at a Proposers Day Aerial Dragnet conference on September 26 in Arlington, Virginia. Registration nominally closed September 19.

DARPA hosts Proposers Days to promote teaming arrangements between researchers and provide information on how they can best respond to the Government’s R&D solicitations. Attendance is restricted to registered proposers.

A variety of companies are developing efficient, safe solutions for those charged with taking down drones. In this image Openworks Engineering, a DJI Phantom is about to be netted and captured. The net was fired from a bazooka-like shoulder-mounted gun that uses computerized optics for highly accurate sighting and tracking of targets.  


A new Russian military vehicle can search, detect, track, and eliminate targets entirely on its own, and therefore is a practical example of an autonomous warfighting robot. In a conversation with Jane’s, a world authority on weapons systems, Russia’s Military Industrial Company (VPK), noted that “Tigr-M” has a remote control weapons system armed with a 30 mm Shipunov 2A72 cannon and a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov PKTM coaxial machinegun. “The new vehicle is fully unmanned, as it can search, detect, track, and eliminate targets in automatic mode.” 

Tigr-M weighs 8,200 kg, and carries 200 30X165mm rounds and 1,000 7.62X54R mm cartridges.  It can be driven remotely at a 3km distance. Tigr-M can destroy land targets at a 5,000meter distance by day and at 1,000 meters by night. It features an electro-optical fire control system with an automatic target tracking device. This weapons system edges toward what many ethicists consider to be a dangerous area, one in which lethal decisions can arguably be made by machines. However, international norms support a fire control system in which humans must be in the decision process when lethal force is used. 


Alan Levin reports in Bloomberg Technology that the Virginia Tech campus will soon see a harbinger of drone deliveries to come, as an experimental project ensues for a few weeks.  Google’s “Alphabet Inc. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.” will launch under the name Project Wing.  In summary, Virginia Tech and Google are undertaking the most extensive test, yet, of the drone-delivery business paradigm of the future.

The challenges are many, including that the test cargo is food.  It has to be transported without damage and kept at an appropriate serving temperature.  This is part of the newly emerging business paradigms emerging under the recently established FAA Part 107 regulatory framework.  Even has computerization of many practice areas begins reducing the jobs of various types of workers, the drone business represents huge opportunities for new jobs for uncounted thousands of budding drone pilots.  Photos courtesy of Alphabet Inc.


Matt Waite and Ben Kreimer of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drone Journalism Lab have offered a brief but comprehensive guide to safe drone operations involving professional journalism. The guide is generously funded by the Knight Foundation, and is available to any under a Creative Commons license. Three roles are defined: Pilot in Command (PIC), Observer, and Journalist. It is noted that just one or two individuals can fulfill all three roles, but that the PIC, who holds the FAA-issued Part 107 certificate, is the final authority on whether it is safe and feasible to fly.  The Observer, the sole person who can speak to the PIC during operations, is responsible to alert the PIC if aircraft, vehicles or peope come into the area during operations. The journalist is responsible for defining the goals of the flight and verifying the outcome after the drone lands.

The guide discusses questions of ethics and points to the Society of Professioal Journalists  SPJ Code of ethics.  It states that the manual “is a mixture of hard-earned experience in the field, requirements under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations, best practices for drone use, and methods that manned aircraft pilots use to fly airplanes.  It stresses that news managers must understand that the PIC is the final authority, as this person is the license holder who will incur liability if something goes wrong.

The manual is an “open document” so that users can contribute their insights and experiences back to it. It is hosted on Github, a social code sharing website, and the authors openly invite comments and recommendations. PDF copies of the manual are available for free download  online.  We thank David Place, CDR, USN/Ret., and Robin Alexander, President, ATC, for sourcing this story, recently published in David’s Unmanned Systems News (USN) listserve distribution, which we highly recommend and that you can subscribe to by emailing David at


Commentators are suddenly buzzing about artificial intelligence, aka “AI”, which is emerging all around us at a meteoric pace.  Some push deeper into the related but spooky domain of “strong artificial intelligence,” a term that means when machine intelligence will rival that of human beings. Will there come a point in time when the risk of runaway machine sentience might actually emerge, perhaps embodied in a sci-fi personage like the “Terminator”?

This discussion evokes the concept of the Singularity, popularized by American inventor and respected intellectual, Ray Kurzweil. It also vigorously calls to mind his critics, who notably include another American intellect of stratospheric achievement, MIT’s Noam Chomsky.

The NYTimes reports that researchers from Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have recently been meeting to discuss issues like how AI will impact and possibly replace many jobs, as well as change how we travel to our jobs or to the mall, and even how we equip our militaries.

A new report that will be updated on an ongoing basis, from the Stanford group, “One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), funded by Eric Horowitz, notes that its overarching purpose is “to provide a collected and connected set of reflections about AI and its influences as the field advances.”  Today’s tech giants are discussing the possibilities.  It appears that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the storm of debate will grow. Photograph by Alamy,



The following introduces this report: by Abha Bhattarai at the website:

As you check into your hotel room this holiday weekend, you may be welcomed by a robot.

Hotel companies around the world have been racing to incorporate new innovations into their properties. Here, a look at some futuristic technology that may greet you during your next hotel stay.

1. Voice-activated rooms

You’ll never have to get out of bed again, promises Aloft Hotels. Thanks to its Project: Jetson, guests at two of the company’s properties can control their thermostats, lights, even music preferences, with the sound of their voice, Starwood Hotels & Resorts said in a statement:

Wake up hot at 2 am..? Simply ask Siri to adjust the temperature on the thermostat by saying “Hey Siri, cool the room” to your desired setting.

Singing in the shower but want a new track? Say “Hey Siri, put on my morning playlist.”

The voice-activated rooms in Boston and Santa Clara, Calif., will come equipped with iPads that guests can use to browse the Internet and check the weather forecast.



Part 107 of the Small UAS Rule goes into effect today.  This is a milestone in the development of the commercial UAS industry in the United States.  Part 107 is part of Chapter 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and allows commercial drone use without a Section 333 Exemption.  With Part 107 now in full force and effect, it is widely foreseen that new drone markets and UAS applications designed to exploit them will proliferate. The FAA sees its role as a facilitator as U.S.-based industry embraces the challenges of a rapidly growing worldwide  drone market.

A Section 333 Exemption was the earlier framework for FAA authorization of commercial drone flying prior to the change in the law brought about by Part 107.  Under Part 107, commercial flying of drones is allowed under certain limited conditions. The drone pilot must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center, and does not need to hold a pilot’s license. Flights must be conducted in daylight and within visual line of sight (VLOS), cannot exceed 100 mph, and a number of additional restrictions apply.  The hexcopter shown is one of several drone designs sold in stock and custom configurations by  Innov8tive Designs,, (760) 468-8838.

A primer on Part 107 and the new legal framework can found here. The new framework is designed to spur the growth of the industry in a permissive, open regulatory environment.  It can be said that today marks a new dawn in the era of the drone.


As global demand for red meat rises, “SwagBot”, an omnni-directional, 4-wheeled robot shows promise to assist with herding and managing cattle on the open range.  Salah Sukkarieh teaches robotics at the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering.  Sukkarieh is leading the development of SwagBot to aid Australia’s farmers in a time of labor shortage.  The 3rd largest cattle exporter in the world, Australia has long employed many cowhands in its livestock industry. 

SwagBot can navigate over obstacles and even water, notes Sukkarieh.  However, SwagBot is still a work in progress.  Expected upgrades will enable the robot to evaluate an animal’s health and whether it is in stress.  The prototype SwagBot may be in production in as soon as three years, Sukkarieh notes, and the robot will be priced to match industry needs, where margins are low.  

This will be of keen interest to farmers, who must deal with tight margins.  However, it looks like this is one more industry where robots will soon displace human workers in a trend that is beginning to show itself across many industries and not just in tiers of professional jobs and specialty practice areas.


For the first time, it was reported that NOAA’s National Weather Service National Hurricane Center used real-time weather from the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to upgrade a tropical storm to a hurricane. This transpired in the early morning hours Thursday, Aug. 25. While the Hurricane Center recently downgraded Gaston back to a tropical storm, the most recent forecast also notes it could intensify again on Saturday.

“The NASA Global Hawk can fly over a tropical cyclone at 60,000 feet and provide a full three-dimensional picture of storm structure,” said Gary Wick, Ph.D., NOAA project scientist for the Global Hawk experiment. “We are glad that our research mission can provide direct support to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.”

The key data is collected by a dropsonde, a small instrument dropped from an aircraft that measures tropical storm conditions as it descends to the surface of the ocean. The dropsonde then transmits the data to a satellite which relays it in real time to the National Hurricane Center.

The Global Hawk took this important data from the 75th dropsonde out of 84 dropped from the plane during a 24-hour flight. The National Hurricane Center evaluated the data to upgrade Gaston to be the third hurricane of the season at12:15 AM ET on Thursday. The data indicated that Gaston had strengthened to a hurricane with wind speeds estimated to be 75 miles per hour. In its latest report Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Gaston to a tropical storm, but noted the storm in the Central Atlantic 1160 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands could intensify on Saturday


The FAA Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide is now available for those who will be taking the FAA knowledge test in order to earn an sUAS pilot rating. The following is excerpted from the Guide’s introduction:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published the Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Study Guide to communicate the knowledge areas you need to study to prepare to take the Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating airman knowledge test. This Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide is available for download from

The information in this study guide was arranged according to the knowledge areas that are covered on the airman knowledge test for a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rating as required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 107, section 107.73(a). The knowledge areas are as follows:
1. Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
2. Airspace classification, operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation;
3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance;
4. Small unmanned aircraft loading;
5. Emergency procedures;
6. Crew resource management;
7. Radio communication procedures;
8. Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft;
9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol;
10. Aeronautical decision-making and judgment;
11. Airport operations; and
12. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

Our thanks to David Place, NPS Research Associate / C3F UAS Advisor, and Robin Alexander, President, ATC, for providing NREF this update. 
--the editors


Pierre Bouchard continues to methodically develop his full scale JARRVIS humanoid in Quebec, Canada. The latest development includes full remote control of the head, right arm and articulated hand. As Pierre moves within his home-built exoskeleton, the JARRVIS robot mirrors Pierre’s movements in a YouTube video.

The JARRVIS robot’s body parts are actuated by electric motors. Pierre is developing the mechanics of this humanoid first, and envisions the development of semi-autonomous capability for this humanoid in a future developmental stage. We will continue to bring you Pierre's incremental progress!

UAS Magazine reported that Samsung has announced a new generation of high-capacity chips specially designed for use in airborne drones.   This is one more indication that the drone industry is flowering.  The cards are designed for faster delivery of greater amounts of data, meaning you will be able to see and edit video from your drone at record speed. The report states:
"At five times the speed of a typical microSD card, Samsung’s memory card option will improve movie playback, reading a full-HD video in 10 seconds instead of the 50 seconds needed with a microSD card." 
"For DSLR users and for multi-shot applications, Samsung’s card will reduce multimedia downloading time, photo thumbnail loading time and buffer clearing time in burst shooting mode. Large JPEG photos will take less than seven seconds to upload compared to the microSD version that typically require 32 seconds.
“Our new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution,” said Jung-bae Lee, senior vice president, memory product planning and application engineering for Samsung."


Tech Crunch reported on Intel’s new drone offering, which is designed to attract developers and runs on Intel’s Aero Compute board with a Linux O.S. At the Intel Developoer Forum, Intel introduced a ready-to-fly quadcopter that is intended to attract developers rather than hobbyist consumers or commercial operators, at this time. The drone is assembled and uses Intel's aero Compute Board with a Linux operating system, RealSense for vision and comes with a preloaded AirMap software development kit. AirMap helps drone pilots find appropriate locations where it is legal and safe to fly. The report continues:

“Intel is also an equity investor in drone tech startups, including: Yuneec, which makes drones that automatically avoid obstacles even in tight spaces; Airware, developers of an operating system for commercial drones; and PrecisionHawk, makers of a fixed-wing drone and software for agricultural and other commercial drones.Intel also acquired Ascending Technologies, a German autopilot tech company, in January of this year.

The inclusion of AirMap’s software development kit in Intel’s Aero Ready-to-Fly quadcopters is a boon for the startup, which only launched this week at a closed conference for developers in Santa Monica, California.”





The Daily Mail reported that a micro robotic dragonfly equipped with a mike and camera is just one of many projects to be funded in the UK, in a massive 800,000,000 pound intelligence initiative. The nearly $1 billion investment in advanced military tech will include laser weapons. The report described an innovation unit that will develop technology in a 10-year initiative. 

The program will be a transformation inthe way the UK's military and intelligence agencies will deal with future security threats. It is also seen as a bulwark supporting the UK economy, and is said to be run by Britain's best and brightest. "Backed by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, it will ensure that the UK maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world."




This calendar lists many of the most important upcoming robotics competitions but is not all inclusive as this arena is rapidly expanding.  Many schools offer events and competitions at various times of the year, and site visitors are advised to check local schedules to flesh out this list. This list offers a baker’s dozen you probably want to know about!  – Tom Atwood, Exec. Dir.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 – Wednesday, August 31, UAS WEST Symposium, 1355 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Testing and Operating Automated Vehicles at Babcock Ranch, Florida, (AUVSI) Webinar on Babcock Ranch's plan to introduce automated vehicles for use by its first phase residents and businesses in 2017.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 – Thursday, September 29, RoboBusiness, San Jose Convention Center, 410 Almaden Blvd, San Jose, California 95110.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Thursday, October 27,Unmanned Systems Defense 2016, The Ritz Carlton, (AUVSI) Pentagon city, Arlington, Virginia, 1250 South Hayes Street, Virginia 22202.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 – Thursday, November 17, Humanoids 2016 IEEE-RAS International Conference, Weston Resort & Spa, Boulevard Kukulcan KM 20, Cancun, QROO, 77500, Mexico.

Tuesday, November 29 – Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 4th Annual Florida Automated Vehicles (FAV) Summit, Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel, 700 S Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33602. Background: The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is planning for the deployment of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies on public roadways with the establishment of the Florida Automated Vehicles (FAV) initiative.

Sunday, December 11, 2016 – Sunday, December 18, 2016, Maritime ROBOTX Challenge, (AUVSI) Sand Island, Oahu, Hawaii 96701.  High School, Undergraduate, Graduate.

Wednesday, December 14 – Thursday, December 15, 2016, RoboUniverse, 111 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, California 92101

Frday, April 6, 2017 – Saturday, April 8, NATIONAL ROBOTICS CHALLENGE, Marion County Fairgrounds, Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 220 E. Fairground St., Marion, Ohio 43302.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – Saturday, April 22, 2017 VEX World Championships, High School Division, Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, Kentucky 40209.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – Saturday, April 22, 2017 FIRST TX Championships, Houston, Texas.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Saturday, April 29, 2017 FIRST MO Championships, St. Louis, Missouri.

Monday, May 8, 2017 – Thursday, May 11, Xponential 2017, Kay Bailey Hutchinson Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, Texas 75201.

ROBOBOAT will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida, summer 2017.  This prestigious event and competition promises new challenges, more excitement and a larger lake, to boot.

Friday, June 2, 2017 – Monday, June 5, 2017, 25th Annual intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, (AUVSI) Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Undergraduate, Graduate.



The report notes the criteria selected by the surveyed countries and by the EU for implementing a number of operational requirements. Such criteria often include the weight and/or type of use of drones. It also addresses specific topics such as registration and labeling of drones, flight authorization information, and requirements for drone operator qualifications. 

The Library of Congress invites you to review this report along with the many other multinational and single country reports available on the Law Library’s website<>. We also invite you to read two previous In Custodia Legis posts that are relevant to the discussion of the use of drones. The first addresses legal aspects of unmanned systems for civilian uses<>; the second analyzes legal aspects that apply to lethal autonomous weapons<>.


The 16th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, “Humanoids 2016,” will be held at the Westin Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico: 15-17 November 2016. This year’s conference covers many topics, including: anthropomorphic design and control, software and hardware architecture, whole-body dynamics, humanoid locomtion, brain-robot interfaces and much more.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics and Automation Society’s objectives are scientific, literary and educational in character. The Society strives for the advancement of the theory and practice of robotics and automation engineering and science and of the allied arts and sciences, and for the maintenance of high professional standards among its members, all in consonance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the IEEE and with special attention to such aims within the Field of Interest of the Society. This year’s conference covers many topics, including:

·         Principles and technologies for anthropomorphic/bionic design and control

·         Novel materials, devices, mechanisms, energy system for humanoids

·         Software and hardware architecture, system integration

·         Whole-body dynamics, control, sensing, informatics

·         Measuring, modeling and simulating humans

·         Teleoperation, tele-experience, tele-presence using humanoids

·         Humanoid locomotion, manipulation, perception, planning

·         Human and humanoid skills/cognition/interaction

·         Adaptation, learning and cognitive development of humanoids

·         Humanoids for human science and engineering

·         Cyborgs, prostheses, assistive devices and sensor/motor suits

·         Neuro-robotics and brain-robot interfaces for humanoids and humans

·         Social interaction and acceptability

·         Applications: home, field, space, social, industrial, medical, health/mental care, art/entertainment, education


The Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), sponsored by DARPA, will take place on Thursday, August 4, and is free and open to the public. CGC seeks to automate the cyber defense process by which machines will discover, prove and fix software flaws in real-time, without any assistance by humans. This project’s outcomes will embody the first generation of machines that can discover, prove and fix software flaws in real-time, without assistance. If successful, the speed of automated protection could someday blunt the structural advantages of cyber offense, which, today, has the advantage.

The event is being held at the Paris Hotel & Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV. The final event will take place Thursday night. The Cyber Grand Challenge finalists are the top scoring teams from the first year of the Cyber Grand Challenge, which was held on June 3rd, 2015.  Each winning finalist fielded an autonomous system that found and fixed enough vulnerabilities to gain an invitation to the final event. The CGC finalists represent a diverse field that includes industry leaders, university off-shoots, startups, academic researchers and hacker community competition veterans.


For decades, inspections of newly assembled aircraft have been conducted by humans in an exacting, carefully choreographed process that ensures high quality manufacturing and attainment of the highest safety standards in products rolling off the assembly lines. The techniques used to examine newly-built airliners evolve and improve, and, as shown by Gizmag, on-site flying robots that inspect airframes during assembly are at the heart of Airbus's recent leap forward

Previously, Airbus quality inspectors had to ride perches on telescoping arms to ensure there were no non-conforming parts exhibiting defects, dents or scrapes.  That process historically took up to two hours per plane, but with the advent of drones, it can take as few as 10 minutes.  Airbus worked with AscTec to create a “modified Falcon 8 drone with Intel RealSense cameras for intelligent obstacle navigation and a 42-megapixel full-frame camera for data capture.”

"This a far safer and more comfortable approach for the data capture technicians.  Up to 150 photos are typically captured and these are then examined by inspectors as 3D models of the plane. It’s possible to zoom and pan around the images so as to look closer at certain areas, with the data said to ultimately help improve traceability, prevention and damage reduction. The system is being tested on Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft, after which it is expected to be rolled out for use on all aircraft from next year on."


As reported by, on July 22, 2016, Facebook chairman, chief executive officer, and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, in the company of friends, family and colleagues, watched the first successful flight of his amazing giant flying wing – the Aquila (“eagle” in Latin).  This enormous machine, with a wingspan exceeding that of a Boeing 737 jetliner, will eventually broadcast the internet to tens of millions of people.

Aquila’s test flight lasted 96 minutes. The craft is constructed from carbon fiber. This project is both a technical masterwork and an enormous humanitarian initiative that will improve the lives of innumerable people in countries such as India and Nigeria.  Aquila will fly circular patterns at an altitude of approximately 60,000 feet, which is above the most violent weather. It will nonetheless need to deal with extremely cold temperatures and occasional gusts.


In early May, 2016, at the AUVSI Xponential Conference in New Orleans, Thomas Atwood, executive director of the National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF), presented a thoughtful review of robotics technologies in our society -- past, present and future.  In his presentation, reproduced here, a PowerPoint overview presents historical robots, contemporary examples and provocative speculation on the future of robotics and the challenges of living with advanced artificial intelligence (AI).

What are the implications of Kurzweil's "Singularity"? Will robots be the next phase in human evolution? Should robots be weaponized? Will robots take over all the professional jobs now occupied by humans, and if so, what will people do to make a living?  How will people travel in a futuristic, fully automated world? Atwood offers eye-opening possibilities in a memorable presentation. Image of the Antikythera Mechanism by Cosmo Wenman.  AUVSI members can also access the presentation here.


The TESLA Technology Think Tank is dedicated to making rapidly emerging technology productive and safe for mankind.  It was our pleasure to interview Keith Kaplan earlier this spring, co-founder and CEO of the TESLA Think Tank, and a fiercely enthusiastic advocate of our ever-more technological future.  “We are progressing from the industrial revolution to the autonomous age… The circumstances require great action, and as a think tank, we assist in helping public and private entities to navigate this.“ You won’t want to  miss Keith’s interesting comments on our technological future.

TESLA’s mission as stated at the TESLA website:

"The Tesla Foundation is a not for profit science and technology think tank for The Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the Architect of Americas Technology Farm System. The Tesla Foundation accomplishes its non-profit goals utilizing the combined efforts of its technology farm system, research, education, applications and high level educational events and summits. It is the responsibility of those that can shape our future to integrate all technology in a safe and ethical manner for all of humankind."

What is the purpose and mission of the TESLA Foundation?
It is a very exciting time but it is a difficult time. We, as a society, are getting through a transition. Owing to incredible advancements in connectivity and data collection and communications, it has been a disruptive time. We are progressing from the industrial revolution to the autonomous age.  We are progressing from factory-based physical systems to virtual systems.  We are experiencing a mass migration of the workforce, very similar to what we experienced in the second stage of the industrial revolution, which went from farms to the factory.

Recruiting the Best and the Brightest for the Information Age
The circumstances require great action, and as a think tank, we assist in helping public and private entities to navigate this.  But also, we are creating the first technology personnel recruitment system. There is a very effective system that exists for professional sports in this country.  We are using that same kind of blueprint, including word of mouth, and the same techniques that are used to farm our society for the best young athletes who rise into professional sports.  We are promoting the use of that same methodology in the context of technology. 

The TESLA foundation incubated in this now expanding unmanned aerial vehicles systems association (UAVSA), for the sole purpose of providing services and promoting the ability for roboticists, professional robot operators, and, right now, specialists in aero-robotics technology to be assimilated into our professional lives in as seamless and safe a way as possible.

We are very much at the end stage of traditional aviation.  A lot of folks might not feel like this but consider that we have commercial planes that we travel on, and that are used to deliver our packages.  These aircraft already have cyber-physical systems that actually take-off, fly and land the planes.  Pilots and the safety systems are redundant and that’s very important, but the pilot interaction with those systems that are becoming more autonomous, is evolving and shrinking, and this is an indicator of how good these systems truly are.

And so, with completely autonomous aero-robotics, it is very important that the technical integration of these services with commerce is done in a very safe and productive manner.  We need to collect and then publicize a whole new generation of wonderful jobs in data collection that this proliferating technology now offers!

Would you have any comments about TESLA’s future direction and ambitions with respect to UAVs?
UAVs… It was an interesting moment when custom computing became mobile.  This really was a crescendo of the information age – Let’s call it industry 3.0.   But for the masses, it is industry 4.0.  “Drones” are that moment.  This occurs when the masses fully accept the new technology and say, “Ok, this is a good solution!” 

With respect to the TESLA Foundation, it is very important to understand, study, and then react as quickly as possible.  The incredible speed with which this new iteration is seizing our physical world is amazing. This is because of the ability for any of us to have a tremendous amount of data at our fingertips, not just tomorrow but in the next minute, or the next few seconds. Consider that we are able to have instant simulations of our cyber systems, and then see those iterations happen in the physical world.  Anyone can build an object in free open source CAD software, then have that object produced on a 3D printer in seconds!... The combinations of these iterations are increasing in our physical world.  I personally think that this is going to continue to increase, exponentially.

So, we have to find ways to identify people, who have solutions that are productive that we can integrate. This will stimulate ecommerce as well as educational opportunities.

Thank you. Do you have any comments with respect to the evolving position of the FAA on robotics?
The FAA is in a very difficult position because the FAA, in a traditional sense, always included the operator as a human.  This is a very different scenario, today, where sensors and connectivity in aviation of all kinds can actually in many cases mitigate human involvement as the systems perform better than a human. 

There needs to be more funding, more scientists, engineers and operators, and creators, at the table. And not as many legislators. By that, I mean that the legislatures have too often been behind the curve in understanding the extraordinary and economically substantial benefits open competition and deregulated unmanned systems offer our communities, states and national economies. They need to have the data about real world scenarios to be able to accelerate the decisions that they are making.  Legislators need to have more partnerships with industry in the UAV markets to be able to understand just how fast paced the iteration cycle is – and to adopt appropriate legislation and be malleable in the face of these emerging ecommerce opportunities.

Thank you for your comments! It has been a real pleasure learning about TESLA and its mission!
Thank you so much, and I really appreciate the opportunity to promote a safe and ethical transition into the Industrial revolution 4.0.  So, Tom, thank you!


As shown by, UBER has shown a new security guard robot that will be greeting visitors to the company's inspection lot in Mission Bay, in San Francisco.  Interestingly, there are now several companies using and/or further developing this category of robot, which will patrol warehouses, greet people at hotels, mind parking lots and the like. Amazon and Gamma2 are also in this game. notes that "The robot is a K5, a 300-pound security robot made by Silicon Valley start-up Knightscope. It’s a stand-in for a human security guard. The robot has multiple high-definition cameras for 360-degree vision, a thermal camera, a laser rangefinder, a weather sensor, a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and person recognition capabilities."



Tom Green notes at the beginning of a fascinating podcast on agribotics, in which he interviews Frank Tobe of, that “Forecasts for the worldwide agribotics market predict a whopping increase from $3 billion in 2015 to $16.3 billion by 2020. The world’s population is expected to hit more than 9 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. To grow all that food, the world’s farms will need to increase production by around 25 percent, according to a recent report from the World Resources Institute.” We highly recommend this podcast, which explores the various ways—some surprising—robotics technology will be used to feed the world in coming years.

Tom Greene’s introduction continues: “To make matters worse, experts expect shortages of water, fertilizer, and arable land to make it even more difficult to feed future generations. At the same time, the number of people involved in the often dangerous world of agricultural labor is decreasing… The solution to automate agriculture as quickly as possible and as extensively as possible holds out the possibility that technology can help avert worldwide shortages of food in the coming decades.”

RoboThink is a premier STEM edu-tainment (education + entertainment) provider whose offerings are gaining popularity because of their innovative and effective project based K-9th grade robotics, coding, engineering and math curriculum. These programs nurture critical thinking, visual problem solving and fine motor skills, teamwork, communication skills, goal oriented persistence and process-oriented thinking and abstract thought. 
RoboThink offers educators the opportunity to participate in RoboThink education programs as franchisees, and is offering a Webex online seminar for interested potential franchisees on July 16 at 12 p.m Central Daylight Time.  You can join the seminar at this link: 


Robird passed validation trials, permitting its use at the Farnborough Airshow, being  held now and for the next several days in England.  The robot peregrine falcon, and a larger bald eagle version, mimic the ability of real birds of prey to clear the skies of birds in their hunting areas -- which the fleeing birds learn to avoid. 

Birds naturally flock together and leave an area as a group. This is best done with an ornithopter, or flapping wing aircraft, as the beat cadence of the wings tips off birds that danger is in the air.  The two sizes of Robirds will repel birds of practically all species, making the skies at an airshow much safer for pilots. Clear Flight Solutions of the Netherlands, together with British partner 3iC and its French partner Pilgrim Technology will be demonstrating their Robirds at Farnborough in the outside exhibit area near the threshold of runway 24.


Pierre Bouchard has been working on a full-size mechanical humanoid for some years and we have reported various updates in periodic news stories. In the last six months, Pierre has concentrated on a new exoskeleton that he wears and from which he can control the head and camera view of the J.A.R.R.V.I.S. humanoid.  

When Pierre moves with this exoskeleton, the humanoid robot moves in a biomimetic way through wireless communication.  The exoskeleton helmet provides a view from the JARRVIS 2G's head camera.  The exoskeleton's helmet enables remote swiveling of the robot's head in pitch and yaw axes.  You can watch a short video of the  humanoid here.  We will continue to provide updates from this interesting project that originates in Quebec, Canada.


For over 50 years, scientists and engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space center have pioneered technology breakthroughs in computing, medicine, thermal materials, systems engineering and more.  These patented technologies are available through licensing agreements to enable entrepreneurs to create new products.  As reported on CNET's RoadShow, NASA and general motors developed Roboglove as a spin-off technology from Robonaut. It uses Robonaut derived actuation and an external battery power supply.  The glove is intended to assist humans performing repetitive tasks that require significant hand strength for gripping, pulling levers, lifting heavy metal objects and the like.

These tasks typically have to be performed every 30 to 40 seconds and require both high levels of dexterity and hand strength.   A single modular battery unit can be worn on a worker’s belt and power two Robogloves for an 8-hour shift.  Inside the glove are mechanical actuators that pull on synthetic tendons that run across the palm up into the fingers of the glove.  A microcontroller is on the side of the glove and there are a set of sensors at the fingertips and base at the microcontroller.  These communicate to the glove when to grip, by how much and when to open back up. NASA technology can be licensed by your business. More details are here


As explained in a Technology report on Fox News, a two-tiered propeller system has solved the problem of transitioning from water to air and vice versa, enabling this “Naviator” hybrid to explore the depths of a body of water, then fly back to a ship or land base.  The new design is only a tethered prototype, and its designers note that one of the challenges they face is scalability.  Enabling larger versions to carry a meaningful payload that can perform work is a challenge, but it’s just a matter of time until this has been met.

F. Javier Diaz, a Rutgers University professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, explained that the breakthrough was using two sets of propellers. He said “the magic occurs” when the machine gets out of the water. This kind of drone could be launched from shore to inspect underwater portions of an oil rig, a bridge, a large tanker hull or debris that has fallen into the water.  It would be faster and, it appears to us, less expensive than sending human divers undersea. See video here.

Five emerging trends in robotics point to the shape of things to come across all of automation. These emerging trends deserve the attention of roboticists everywhere. As identified by respected industry commentator, Frank Tobe of, these are (1) China's appetite to acquire and build an in-country robotics industry, (2) Collaborative robotics, which are beginning to impact the overall industry, (3) Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS), now emerging in multiple verticals, (4) The impact of new robotic tech in logistics and materials handling, and (5) continued interest in investing in robotics.
Frank notes that over the last half century, industrial robots have "picked the low-hanging fruit of manufacturing by handling the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks. But today, as consumers want more personalied products, and want them faster, and as costs have dropped and executives have pushed for greater productivity through automation, mobile and vision-enabled robots are emerging and being deployed in many new application areas, particularly for SMEs [small and medium size enterprizes] and in logistics." Vision enabled enabled are also rapidly growing in use by government agencies and by agriculture, surveying, construction and healthcare markets. 
Analysis of 752 startup companies indexed in TheRototReport's global database of robotics shows that 25% of these were focused on industrial robotics.  Significantly, 75% addressed new areas including unmanned aerial, land, maritime and underwater applications involving filming, surveillance, reconaissance and delivery systems for the military, science and oil and gas industries (25%), agricultural robots (6%), mobile robot platforms (7%), personal service robots (3%), and professional service robots (7%). This analysis is not to be missed, as Tobe's report also parses out other important markets including consumer robots used in the home (9%) and education and hobby segments (5%).  He continues, "Support businessses such as AI and software, engineering and design, component manufacturing, 3D printing, vision systems and integrators make up the remainder. More than half of the startups are predominantly software based and indicative of the new metric that the hardware component represents less than 1/3 the overall cost of the product." Read the full report here.



Reporting from, Vicki Speed offered a snapshot of the first planned implementation later this summer of drones autonomously flying urgently needed medical supplies to remote sites in Western Rwanda, Africa.  20 hospitals and health care centers will start receiving blood shipments. A California-based robotics company, Zipline, is organizing the project. Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo noted, “We’ve built an instant delivery system for the world, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on demand and at low cost, anywhere.”

Each custom-built drone, called Zip, weighs approximately 10 kilograms and can carry 1.5 kilograms of medicine. Zips are being fielded in fleets of 15. Remarkably, the drones can fly a 150 kilometer roundtrip (93 miles, or 46 miles each leg) on a single charge. Engineers from Zipline and Rwanda will manage operations. Extensive testing is planned with respect to speed of delivery and temperature control.

Zipline executives believe once the program gets started, its autonomous aircraft will be able to make 50-150 deliveries a day. The firm expects to deliver the first fleet of drones to Rwanda in July 2016 with initial flights beginning in August. Zipline plans to expand the project to the eastern half of the country in early 2017.

Can the delivered supplies be maintained in the cold supply chain? Can they be stored efficiently at the required 2-8°C range? Is it cost-effective as compared to more conventional ground based delivery methods?

“We are testing how fast we can deliver the product,” he added, “and if that timeframe falls within the safe range of refrigeration to ensure quality. We’ll be testing the efficacy and potency of the delivered product to make sure it complies with the international standard.”


SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot by Boston Dynamics, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm). SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing.  SpotMini is one of the quietest robots Boston Dynamics ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance. For more information about SpotMini visit


With the release of relatively unrestrictive commercial drone regulations by the FAA, drone development firms have flocked to North Dakota to test, fly and refine prototypes for use in a wide variety of still emerging applications.  At the Grand Forks Air Force Base, an instructor prepares to discuss the SandShark UAV. Photo courtesy of Tim Gruber, NY Times.

To fly commercial unmanned systems of any configuration in ND, you must pass a written test, be over 16 and not fly in restricted areas such as near airports or above 400 feet.  And yet the call of business beckons to uncounted companies to exploit the not so very demanding requirements in this new entrepreneurial birthing ground for UAS business.

The numerous unforeseen but now-hatching original, new applications for drone technology are fascinating.  This will be viewed in retrospect as a curiously fascinating time of drone efflorescence.


Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the first operational rules (PDF) for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”



The NASA index of robotics curricula represents all grade levels from K12 through graduate studies. The Educational Robotics Matrix not only lists out robotics curricula by name, with descriptive sentences and links, but also specifies curricula-related competitions and even sources of internships and job leads.

Quickly find links to such classic competitions as the Trinity Fire-Fighting Robot Contest and RoboCup, as well as student opportunities, NASA jobs and TeleRobotics Facilities.  The matrix divides curricula up into K to 5th grade, 6th to 8th, 9th to 12th, BA / BS degrees, MA / MS, and Ph. D levels. With a multitude of links to summer programs of all kinds, and NASA job related info, this site is a goldmine for students, educators and mentors. Bugbot photo courtesy of NASA.


ROBOTC is one of the very best time-tested, in-depth packages combining programming environments and curricula for VEX, VEX-IQ, VEX CORTEX AND LEGO MINDSTORMS learning systems.  CMU has provided a remarkable Virtual Worlds component that allows programming in online worlds, and even the capability of creating a custom online world for students’ use.  Moreover, this package includes a Virtual Brick option  that looks and acts like the real thing working with NXT-G, EV3 and LABVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS software. CMU’s Robotics Academy develops tools for teachers that make it easier to implement robotics curriculum into today’s classrooms. CMU curriculum is research-based, aligns with standards, and focuses on the development of 21st century skill sets in students. CMU provides first-rate guides to getting started using their curricula designed for VEX and LEGO robotics systems. CMU has outlined a 3-step approach to organizing the teaching of their robotics-based curricula. The Step 1 introduction notes that “Robotics provides many rich opportunities to teach Computer Science, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CS-STEM) as well as 21st century skill sets. As you plan your robotics course, one of the first things that you will need to consider is what “Big Ideas” do I want to teach through robotics. At the Robotics Academy we’ve worked with many teachers helping them to develop a scaffolded set of curricular activities to help them to develop a multi-year program.” Step 2 addresses “scaffolded learning” that incrementally builds STEM knowledge. Step 3 addresses evaluation of student progress. Image: LEGO MINDSTORMS TRACK3R, courtesy of LEGO MINDSTORMS.


In a mid-June post on, Regardt van der Berg reported on a new South Africa-made drone that is an eye-catcher and that seems to solve multiple problems in an integrated design. Alti, a division of SteadiDrone, has produced the Transition, a multi-rotor, fixed-wing aircraft that takes off vertically using electric power and flies horizontally using a fuel-powered 20cc four stroke engine.

Founder Duran de Villiers notes, “The Alti Transition is a higher-end commercial and industrial aircraft with much longer endurance and great range. We’re not limiting its use to a set industry. It allows up to six hours’ range like that of a fixed wing but has the ability to take off and land vertically, in and out of confined spaces. It offers huge advantages over traditional drone systems.”

The Transition has the versatility of a quadcopter with the altitude, travel distance and flight times associated with a fixed-wing drone, and comes with a fully featured autonomous avionics system. The software is based on the autonomous and open PX4 platform. The PX4 flight stack is an autopilot software technology for multi-copter and fixed-wing aircraft. The Transition also features a proprietary software and hardware avionics system with a ground control system suite. The stealth-looking Transition features a carbon Kevlar fuselage that has been tested in a wind tunnel and designed to keep the weight down. Its wingspan is 2,76m and it’s 2,3m long. Maximum takeoff weight is 12kg.


In a release by CMU spokesperson Byron Spice, it was announced that CMU’s Takeo Kanade, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Robotics and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, won the prestigious 2016 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology. Kanade was cited for his pioneering contributions to computer vision and robotics.  The international award is presented to individuals who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind. While he was a student at Kyoto University in the early 1970s, he developed the first complete system for face recognition by computers for his doctoral thesis. Since then, he has continued to explore the science of computer vision, including the physical, geometrical, optical and statistical processes involved in vision.

Remember the amazing action videos at the January 2001 Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL?  When TV viewers first felt like they were flying around the stadium with the ability to see key plays up close from any angle? That was the pioneering work of Kanade.  He has also made fundamental discoveries in face detection technology, automated driving, three-dimensional image reconstruction, self-flying helicopters and the use of video images to estimate the direction and speed of moving objects. While he was a student at Kyoto University in the early 1970s, he developed the first complete system for face recognition by computers for his doctoral thesis.

“I am most honored,” Kanade said following the announcement. “Since I came to CMU in 1980, soon after the Robotics Institute was founded, I have participated in and led many exciting projects. My students, colleagues and the environment at CMU made them happen.  In fact, it may sound funny, but, honestly speaking, all I had was fun.”  Our thanks to Byron Spice for this update. 


The academic institutions providing talent for the exploding robotics markets face volatile times as when, in the case of Carnegie Mellon, UBER recruited a raft of CMU specialists, about a year ago, to establish the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. However, in this dynamic environment, institutions quickly bounce back. In response to the growing demand for roboticists, CMU reported that its Robotics Institute has expanded and by last fall had more graduate and undergraduate students – 410 – than at any time in its history. Moreover, it had increased the size of its master’s degree programs by more than a third. Today, the Robotics Institute includes more than 500 faculty, technical staff members and post-doctoral and visiting researchers, giving it the enormous technical breadth and depth of expertise needed for expansive robotics research work. The institute announced it was recruiting five additional faculty members this spring

Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) has been selected as a prime contractor or subcontractor on four major new federal research projects totaling more than $11 million over the next three years. The projects range from research on a wheel that can transform into a track to automated stress testing for critical software.  Herman Herman, NREC director, said the center has hired 10 new technical staff members in the past six months and anticipates hiring another five-to-10 staff members in the coming months to augment its existing staff of about 100. The new research initiatives include:

• A $4 million project for the Defense Department’s Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) to develop automated testing that will ensure the reliability and performance of critical software;

• A $4.2 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that seeks to develop technology that would enable a wheel to transform into a track so vehicles could tackle a variety of terrains;

• A $1 million U.S. Department of Energy project with Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Center that will use robotic vehicles to monitor sorghum plants being bred to enhance their use as energy feedstocks; and

• A $2.4 million DARPA project with Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, to create automation that would enable existing aircraft to operate safely with smaller crews.


Engineering Newswire just reported on a new Israeli all-terrain autonomous and remotely operated military robot with interchangeable modules that can be adapted for various deployment scenarios. These machines are designed to carry supplies over rough terrain in support of troops on the move, but they can also be weaponized and operated in semi-autonomous military modes. Called the Pitbull, the Israeli newcomer is vaguely similar to an all-terrain vehicle, Crusher, designed and test at Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics group a few years ago.  Original iterations of the Crusher had externally mounted sensors, much like the prototype Pitbull. We expect these will be internalized in future versions.


Though not well publicized, there are many exemplary robotics programs in classrooms, nationwide, and we are going to offer a few news reports in a new series that identifies some outstanding examples.  Our first report centers on Maine Robotics, an organization founded in 2004 to support the training of mentors and teachers, as well as students, in a variety of robotics related competencies to further develop STEM skills and technical interests in Maine.

Since its inception, Maine Robotics, a 501C(3) nonprofit, has involved over 7,000 children, and approximately 1400 participate yearly. As noted at the Maine Robotics website, the organization widely networks with other educational groups in the state: 

“In Maine’s world of higher education Maine Robotics partners with the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine’s School of Engineering, The Maine 4H program, the Maine Girl Scout Council, The Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine at Farmington’s Department of Computer Science. Maine Robotics also works with community programs and schools across the State to bring these activities to as far reaching a population as possible.”

Tom Bickford is the President and Director of Maine Robotics, and his contact information is at Maine Robotics. He has overseen the FIRST LEGO League in Maine since 2000 and has operated and administered Summer Robotics Programs since 2002. Our thanks to Bill Lovell of for assistance with this article.


In early May, Baker & Hostetler,, announced that it would use “a ground-breaking artificial intelligence product for legal research.”  The firm stated it would license Ross Intelligence in its bankruptcy practice.  Ross Intelligence, in turn, announced that Baker Hostetler will license ROSS for use by its Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights team. The ROSS platform is built on IBM’s Watson computer system, which has natural language processing and can respond to research questions posed by users. ROSS searches the law, draws inferences and informs the attorneys working on a legal case. See a PR Newswire report on this development, which is only the beginning of countless computerized expert system applications that will be emerging for legal and myriad other practice specialties in the exploding field of artificial intelligence.

Photo courtesy of Baker & Hostetler.


Tony Pilling, proprietor of this new robotics website, just introduced his initiative to us and we wish him all success. ROBOSHACK is a place to express your passion about robotics and it is free and easy to become a member. This website is for everyone to share information with a growing community worldwide. It is for hobbyist, hackers, engineers and enthusiasts who have a common interest in robotics. Feel free to post your projects, tutorials, blogs and ideas related to robotics or electronics. This is a place where hobbyists and engineers can meet on the same ground to exchange ideas and learn about the next technology revolution.




This library of video interviews, podcasts, book reviews, in-depth articles and more, all on artificial intelligence and the singularity – and closely related topics ranging from the history of blogging to science fiction embodiments of AI – is a treasure of information that we highly recommend.  This a very special free university, one that you can sample at your own pace, at no cost -- owing to Socrates' quest to share knowledge on the most important questions in our civilization's future.

A recent book review discusses Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, and check out Socrates' report on the history and current status of cryonics, see Frozen in Time: Pushing the Limitations of Death.  Socrates (aka Nikola Danaylov) reflects on the history of blogging and looks at the accomplishments of the original Socrates and other successors, as well.  Please visit his magnificent archive here.


Authorizations to companies flying UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) by the FAA are climbing rapidly, with 5,309 authorizations granted as of June 12, 2016.  The demand for UAS applications has been unprecedented and rapidly mushrooming for a couple of years, now.  The traditional markets included real estate, farming and ranching, property surveying, search and rescue, law enforcement and many more, and it seems new applications are invented every week. Unfortunately, the practical effect of this avalanche of new apps has been somewhat frustrating delays felt by many in their quest to obtain authorization.

FAA Section 333 applicants indicate they would be willing to pay a small fee to speed up the exemption process, because it is costing them money on a monthly basis.  This forces a choice whether to proceed as criminals and work without legal authorization or to lose business. One applicant indicated that it seems un-American to offer a blanket authorization to recreational flyers (hobbyists) while prohibiting flying with respect to honest small business people.  For details on the registration process to obtain an authorization, please click here.  Image of a Walkera multirotor flying after dark by TJAtwood.

06/12/2016 reported that the Defense Department’s third offset initiative unleashes game-changing technology – and entrepreneurs with robotics products that fill the bill should take note. This technology development quest is to ensure military deterrence with respect to such potential adversaries as China and Russia, and has a budget of $18 billion. The story adds: Going from science fiction to reality is the dream of many an engineer or inventor who has envisioned a flying-car commute or teleportation to the beach. It’s not usually the domain of practical defense policy wonks. But that’s what makes the Defense Department’s third offset strategy different. The so-named quest for conventional military deterrence against China and Russia through the Pentagon’s use of game-changing technology now has a bureaucratic brand inside the Beltway. The third offset also has a budget, some $18 billion, to spend on fulfilling a vision of a future in which electromagnetic railguns shoot down hundreds of incoming cruise missiles, lasers slice through enemy warships, and robotic wingmen fly in first on the deadliest missions.


Rarely, at NREF have we looked forward to the release of a new book on robotics with the excitement and anticipation generated by the release of this book.  Coauthored by Cameron and Tracey Hughes of Ctest Laboratories, in collaboration with an impressive list of contributing editors, this work is a basic introduction to robotics programming. It also hints, with references for future reading, at the future task of coming to terms with how humanity and strong artificial intelligence can coexist in a principled moral world.  

This is an ideal starting point for students of any age who wish to  understand programming of autonomous robots.  The techniques presented are well suited to today's most popular robotics platforms, including ARM9 and ARM7 microcontrollers, Arduinos, LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and NXT, as well as the Wowee RS Media Robot. 

Those who would consider the implications of how robots can help mankind, and, also, the potential spectre of runaway machine sentience (aka, the Terminator), will want to probe the  links and works cited at the book's end. In these afterthoughts, the authors may be suggesting a partnership between humanity and machine intelligence that will be more than simple open-ended evolution of machine systems in our evolving civilization.

Cameron Hughes is a computer and robot programmer. He holds a post as a Software Epistemologist at Ctest Laboratories where he is currently working on A.I.M (Alternative Intelligence for Machines) & A.I.R (Alternative Intelligence for Robots) technologies. Cameron is the lead AI Engineer for the Knowledge Group at Advanced Software Construction Inc., a builder of intelligent robot controllers and software-based knowledge components. He holds a staff appointment as a Programmer/Analyst at Youngstown State University.

Tracey Hughes is a senior software and graphics programmer at Ctest Laboratories and Advanced Software Construction Inc. where she develops user interfaces and information and epistemic visualization software systems. Her work includes methods of graphically showing what robots and computers are thinking. She is on the design and implementation teams for the East-Sidaz robots at Ctest as well.

Both Cameron and Tracey Hughes are members of the advisory board for the NREF (National Robotics Education Foundation) and members of the Oak Hill Collaborative Robotics Maker Space. They are project leaders of the technical team for the NEOACM CSI/CLUE Robotics Challenge and regularly organize and direct robot programming workshops for the Arduino, Mindstorms EV3, LEGO NXT, and RS Media robot platforms. Cameron and Tracey are two of the authors of Build Your Own Teams of Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT and Bluetooth, published by McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics, January 2013. Their current book, Programming Robots: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots, published by Que Book Publishers, was released in May 2016. They have written many books and blogs on Software Development and Artificial Intelligence. They’ve also written books on multicore, multithreaded programming, Linux rapid application development, object-oriented programming, and parallel programming in C++.




Chuck Martin, in the IOT Daily Connected Thinking section at, just reported that SoftBank’s Pepper, has selected an ad agency, Midnight Oil, to expand marketing of the robot that already has a massive presence in Japan, where 7,000 units are in operation.  He reports Pizza Hut will be introducing Pepper in Asia, where the robot will take orders and assist cashiers. SoftBank is seeking to expand the pool of developers writing apps for Pepper.  As we learn more on the future direction of Pepper, we will keep you posted!


The IEEE’s Nicolette Emmino offered an interesting report on undersea robotics, May 24, in the Industries section of Electronics 360, titled Six Underwater Drones Making a Technology “Splash”. She discusses six robots in detail, outlined here.  The modest sized Trident, from OpenROV, can reach depths of over 300 feet, and conveys live video to the surface. Controlled via smartphone, it retails for $1,500. iBubble was designed to capture your personal dives on video via an optical dome. It can follow a diver with an onboard camera and capture stills and video in different modes. It follows the operator’s bracelet to depths up to 200 feet.  Ocean One is a humanoid from Stanford University with stereoscopic eyes, two human like arms and a tail with multiple thrusters (shown).  

The sophisticated machine employs haptic feedback so an operator on the surface can feel the heft of what is held, and its missions range from exploring wrecks and reef research to sensor placement. CRACUNS flies and dives. Developed by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, it can linger under the waves and then go airborne. SeaDrone is a solution for boat, dock, nets and pipeline inspection. It will run you from $2,300 to $3,900. 


Saab’s Sea Wasp, developed to counter submerged IEDs, and more, is operated by a 2-person team on the surface, and uses a fiber optic and power tether. Image credit: Frederic Osada and Teddy Sequin/DRASSM


The Robot Report, (TRR), run by business and news commentator Frank Tobe, continues it’s progressive coverage of robotics markets and business developments with a report on the unfolding market consequences of Amazon’s March 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems for $775M.  Kiva had set the standard in warehouse robotics technology, and Amazon quickly assimilated Kiva into its fold.  One of the questions was where this left Kiva’s previous client base, very well served prior to the Amazon acquisition.  By all accounts, Amazon has reached out to these clients and market growth has been spurred as new entrants emerge to help fill growing demand. 

Tobe reports that the emergence of new providers was evident, for example, by the showing of new startups at MODEX 2016. Held in Atlanta, this was a massive “materials handling” technology show with nearly 900 exhibitors and over 25,000 attendees. If you have seen implementation of robotic picking in a modern warehouse (and we have), the new material handling technologies are startling to behold.  Robots pick trays from warehouse locations and bring them to human packers, who work within feet of the loading docks where transport trucks are parked.  Workers no longer trudge down long aisles to find product trays; rather, robots bring trays to the checkout area and workers pick products and parts. The ever-patient robots then return the tray to its warehouse location, where other bots replenish the inventory.

The engineering of the robots that have taken over warehouse duties is a remarkable story in itself, as you can see in this video Tobe points to at:

The article includes an impressive listing of links to the universe of fulfillment systems, including Locus Robotics, 6 River Systems, Magazino, InVia Robotics and many more.  Tobe’s capsule descriptions tell of robots that recognize, select, grip and place merchandise in a dynamic warehouse environment, all to assist human workers. Tobe delves into mobile platforms as well, and don’t miss his pointers to the latest vision-guided robot technology—one of the most exciting arenas emerging today.
--the editors


Pierre Bouchard, a longstanding NREF contributor and robotics hardware engineer in Quebec, Canada, is well underway building a life-size humanoid, named “J.A.A.R.V.I.S.”  Pierre reports an upgrade to his robot's grasping hand -- it is now powered by high torque linear actuators configured to  adapt its 5-fingered grip to the contours and qualities of the item grasped.  As you can see, the hand can easily hold an aerosol spray paint can. It is equally at ease grasping and carrying a flashlight, an egg, incandescent light bulb and other objects commonly handled by humans.




Agritechnique Engineering has designed a disaster  recovery vehicle that can be used in search and rescue operations following a variety of disaster scenarios such as nuclear power plant fires, storms and earthquakes. The Isreali-based company is leading the market with this tracked vehicle that carries specific tool sets for different site-specific applications. The automated arm can lift two tons in tools and payload! Agritechnique has been in the construction and earth moving business for decades,  and currently seeks investment funding and partnerships. For more information, contact Avner Operman, Agritechnique CEO and founder, at:avner.opperman@agritechnique-eng.comMore.


Ford and renowned drone pioneer DJI are collaborating on a digital pickup truck with an integrated UAS for use by farmers and ranchers. The companies launched the “Drone-to-vehicle developer challenge”, a contest to enlist programmers to create integrated control of a UAV through a Ford F150’s onboard digital system. Winners will receive $100,000. For details, click here!


John Boyd of IEEE Spektrumreported that the Mitsubishi Electric-built robot designed to grab and replace hexagonal mirror segments on the 30-meter telescope to be built on Mauna Kea, a volcano on The Big Island, in Hawaii, is ready for deployment, but the project is on hold pending resolution of a legal challenge by Hawaiians who hold the mountain area sacred. The robot is suspended under a 15-meter bridge that rotates it around the circumference of the mirror, where it can access any of 492 segments. With 6 degrees of freedom, the robot has three arms with manipulators that can grasp a given mirror. The robot’s vision system checks patterns it projects onto the mirror glass to adjust its orientation. Force sensors prevent load imbalance that might distort the glass. More


Intel put on a remarkable display of aerial choreography that earned it a place in the Guinness Worlds Records for the largest group of simultaneously controlled UAVs -- 100 drones all at once -- operated by a crew using PCs with Intel software. The mass of drones lit up the night sky in sync to a live performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Commentators have likened this to an aerial robotic performance fireworks display.  “Drone 100” took place at Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, Germany, in November 2015, in collaboration with Ars Electronica Futurelab. More


Published by Silver Dolphin Books, BUILD THE ROBOT is an interactive introduction to the history of robotics from the first slow-moving 1930s robots to the futuristic nanobots that could one day be used to fight diseases in the human body. The 32-page book comes with three wind-up motors and 62 model pieces to build three robots that wiggle, walk, and wave, offering a hands-on learning experience for young robot fans. Engaging text and colorful illustrations will keep future scientists engaged and entertained for hours. More


The NAVY recently tested the Common Control System (CCS) with a remotely operated submersible vehicle. Capt. Ralph Lee, who oversees Navy's CCS Program at Patuxent River, MD,reported that "These tests proved that operators could use CCS from a single global operations center to plan, command, and monitor UUVs on missions located anywhere in the world... This event also showed us that CCS is adaptable from the UAV [unmanned air vehicle] to UUV missions.”  More


The Dronecode Project is an open source, collaborative project that brings together existing and future open source drone projects under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result will be a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). More


A report by the Harvard Office of Technology development recently reported that Baruch College marine biologist David Gruber and Harvard engineer and roboticist Robert J. Wood successfully demonstrated soft robotic grippers able to collect underwater specimens. The two scientists have been recognized as Emerging Explorers by the National Geographic Society. To see amazing video of their testing the soft gripping fingers in the Gulf of Eilat in the northern Red Sea,click here


As reported by Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum, Quanergy, an automotive robotics startup, announced on Januay 7 its new S3 solid-state LIDAR system. This could be a revolution. S3 will bring affordable, safe and comprehensive environmental sensing to autonomous cars and a wide range of aerial, ground and maritime robots. With no moving parts, S3 has a projected retail price of just $250. It is all solid state, including the “electronic lens” – an optical phased array – that enables extremely accurate sensing of distances. S3 can emit laser pulses up to a million times every second. S3 computes the topography of the surrounding environment by measuring the timing of laser reflections.

Because pulses can be selectively transmitted in any direction at microsecond intervals, there is huge potential for highly selective sensing of specifically targeted objects. Frame rates are software controlled, and the S3 has 120-degree vertical and horizontal fields of view. Depth of view (analogous to depth of focus) ranges from 10 centimeters to 150 meters -- with 8% reflectivity at 100 meters. At 100 meters, S3 projects a 9cm spot and distance accuracy is +/- 5cm. With this new technology, the robots will be watching us as never before. More


The Axis Aerius takes the lead as the smallest drone you can buy that sends streaming video to your smartphone! It transmits a live 420P video via a direct Wi-Fi connection, and flies for over five minutes on a 20-minute charge. The 2.4GHz 4-channel transmitter enables flight up to 100 feet away, and the drone is gyro-stabilized. With a retail price of $95, the craft will not be available till end of January next year, but early purchasers save $20. Find out the details at gizmodo.


Devindra Hardawar, intrepid robot vac reporter at endgadget, notes that Neato's new Wi-Fi equipped vac, Botvac Connected, which lists for approximately $700, does a great job cleaning but has some difficulties getting tangled up with wires that it encounters on cleaning missions.  See his full report here.


endgadget, one of our favorite sites,  shared this gem today. We wish our visitors a great Holiday and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!


New products and services are coming to market to help the mushrooming population of UAS (aka drone) pilots manage their assets, flights and flight planning.  The founders at Product Hunt note that they are “building Kittyhawk as a way for pilots to show their history and their status as a drone pilot. While you, as a pilot, are logging flights -- we also give you a way to track all of your assets and locations. And similar to Github, you can join and create multiple teams.” More


Billed as a "flying image processor," this latest airframe from Parrot is awesome, and the lucky roboteer who receives this gem will be forever singing your praises!  With a price of only $500 U.S., this beauty operates in FPV mode (first person view), watches the ground to self-stabilize, includes an altimeter, a 3-axis gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer, sensors operating at 1 kilohertz supporting stabilization, and a GPS chip set, as well as a graphics processor, and 8 gigabytes of flash memory. This flying robot will enable artistic videography on a whole new level! And, its only moving parts? Its propellers. More


Editors at the BBC have put together an engine that will calculate the oddsthat a robot will take your job within the next two decades.  About 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerization over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte. Occupations involving tasks that require a high degree of social intelligence and negotiating skills, like managerial positions, are considerably less at risk from machines according to the study. More


An influential group of Silicon Valley leadershas announced that they have committed a billion dollars to launch a program in San Francisco titled "OpenAI".  The goal is to advance "digital intelligence in a way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate a financial return." Elon Musk is an OpenAI co-chair and strong program advocate . Photo courtesy of Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty Images. More


Veteran droid builder Mike Senna opens up a BB8 droid to reveal the mechanisms that drive, stear and balance the robot sphere from the inside. This is elegant mechanical engineering with a degree of electronic stabilization. Click here for the details! 


A recent report by Ian O'Neill, Discovery News, posted at, looks at the scientific explanations that may explain what appears to be a massive object orbiting a star named named KIC 8462852. Scientists have noticed that "Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20 percent level." After seeming to exhaust natural explanations, the last hypothesis to be considered in such matters, and which has not been disproved, is that the massive object or objects periodically obstructing view of the star are examples of alien-made artificial technology, i.e., robotics. We will leave it to the reader to pass judgment on this theory, but we can say the investigation is both deep and provocative. Image credit for Kepler Observatory: NASA Ames.JPL-Caltech.T Pyle  More


Developed by AZ-based Ascent AeroSystems, SPRITE is a micro, coaxial-rotor drone that you can hold in one hand. Initial rototypes were developed on a consumer-grade 3D printer, and the current version uses injection-molded poly-carbonate parts from Proto Labs. Markets will include hikers, backpackers, law enforcement, science research, search & rescue, defense, and more. A Kickstarter program yielded$406,061, doubling the goal. More


On November 17, NASA announced that two R5 humanoid robot prototypes have been given, one each, to MIT's “Robust Autonomy for Extreme Space Environments” test team in Cambridge, MA, and to Northeastern University's “Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge” team in Boston, MA. The two university research groups won the opportunity to test an R5 through a competitive process in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The robots are contemplated for use in solar system exploration in advance of human participation, and as human assistants in manned missions to planets and asteroids, and in deep space exploration.

NASA notes: “The university principal investigators will serve as critical partners in NASA’s upcoming Space Robotics Challenge where the two R5 units will act as instruments. The challenge is part of the agency’s Centennial Challenges Program, and is divided into two competitions: a virtual competition using robotic simulations, and a physical competition using the two upgraded R5 robots. The goal of the challenge is to create better software for dexterous humanoid robots used in space missions, giving them more autonomy.”…/nasa-awards-two-robots-to-university-groups-…


Boston-based CyPhy Works has launched a commercial version of the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) hexrotor – a multirotor drone that can stay aloft for weeks at a time. Designed for IRS (intel, recon and surveillance) as well as long distance communications, it is powered via a microfilament tether that is a data and control link. It cannot be jammed or spoofed. With a tethered flight ceiling of 500 feet (10,000 feet density altitude), PARC can fly in continuous wind or gusts up to 25-35 knots. It carries a high definition day/night camera and other optional sensors. Crowd control payloads can include spotlights, pepper spray or tasers; payload power is 35 watts. PARC includes an on-board battery for a safe landing if the tether is cut. Tether power can come from the grid or generator (2KW 85-265 VAC). More


IEEE Spectrum Reports here--

Announced at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, this robot cyclist will eventually be driving a bike at 200 km/h on unmodified race tracks.  More information from a report by Forbesindicates that this humanoid robot will drive Yamaha's flagship YZF-R motorcycle with the declared intention of beating 9-time MotoGP winner Valentino Rossi, who rode this bike to victory. The humanoid has been heard addressing Rossi in a video: "I am Motobot... I was created to surpass you."  More


The Daily Mail Reports here--

Providing new meaning to the old saying, “the Russians are coming”  these 4-inch long robot roaches are modeled after the Blaberus Cranifercockroach. Equipped with photo-sensitive and contact sensors, they can avoid objects on 20 minute walks. Designed by Danil Borchevkin and Aleksey Belousov of Kaliningrad's Kant University, these cyber insects can pack additional sensor payloads (e.g., streaming video cam) of up to 10g in weight. and have a ground speed of up to a foot a second. It is reported the Russian military may take an interest in these as potential spy bots. More


See endgadget's review here--

Robot lovers will geek out over the new Roomba 980. It includes a WiFi app and maps your house. It keeps a history of cleaning sessions, and can start from any room to vacuum your entire home. It is iRobot's first consumer product to include vSLAM technology (visual simultaneous localization and mapping). All this technology comes with the highest price yet for an iRobot vac: $900 retail. See the wrap-up by author Devindra Hardawar for a listing of the competition. More


GoodCall reports on our survey, here--

There will be huge opportunities for careers in robotics design, programming, maintenance and education in coming years, as the market continues to explode owing to Moore's Law and the proliferation of technologies. The challenge is how to engage our students in STEM careers that will enable them to enjoy the high paying, rewarding careers in robotics.  We run this site to promote these careers to students, and, also, to serve hobbyists and robotics newshounds of all ages. More


UAS Vision reports here--

DJI announced that it is building a new R&D lab in Palo Alto, CA, that may include 75 engineers and researchers.  It is reported that the lab is east of Stanford Univ. on Portage Ave., and already houses a few personnel, including Darren Liccardo, who led the autopilot team for Tesla Motors. This is a new move by the Shenzhen, China-based company to capitalize on American engineering talent, it is reported.  More


HitecRCD and ServoCity products were DEMOED at the 2015 San Diego Maker Faire BATTLE POND Event! 


For the first time, a full-scale load-bearing bridge capable of supporting people was built entirely by autonomous, programmed quadcopter drones. The Swiss research team is shown walking across the Dyneema rope fiber bridge. Watch the video here. The project was conducted at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich.  --Story and photo via David Place, NPS Research Associate 


In September, the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology division in Indian Head, MD, announced a $14.2 million Northrop Grumman contract to build open-systems man packable ground robots that will neutralize improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The unrelated Remotec Andros UGS shown, is an example of a larger anti-IED robot currently marketed by Northrop Grumman. This brings Northrop Grumman squarely into a market that already includes companies such as iRobot and The Machine Lab, and it is another sign of the exploding robotics industry.


J.A.R.R.V.I.S Humanoid

Pierre Bouchard of Quebec, Canada, has created electric-powered arm, wrist and grasping hand joint mechanics for his full scale Humanoid robot named J.A.R.R.V.I.S. See the video here!

For details on his arm and shoulder design, watch the brief test of a prototype at: Iron Man Super Heros JARRVIS

For a review of Pierre Bouchard's original design direction, Click here


The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Keyport, Wash. awarded three DARPA contracts to study next generation faster, longer excursion unmanned, underwater vehicles (UUVS). The Blue Wolf program's most recent contract, for $3.7 million, went to the Charles Stark Draper Lab in Cambridge, Mass. Research will focus on dynamic lift, drag reduction and innovative hybrid energy systems. Click here for details from


The DARPA ROBOTICS HUMANOID CHALLENGE (DRC) Finals were held in June.  Did you see these large robots performing basic search & rescue tasks in a disaster zone? Click here for full video coverage by Mike Lee.


This friendly, hospitable group dates from the late 1970's and meets at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month at California State Univ. Long Beach, in the Engineering Technology (ET) Building, room 241. 

RSSC offers classes, workshops and presentations by special interest groups. Enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited.  "We have a short business meeting followed by a short break then a competition plus a show and tell of the various projects our members are working on and it ends around 3pm." Photos show an android demo and a crawler project. [For those in the Inland Empire, see its sister club, The Riverside Robotics Society, Images courtesy of RSSC.


Responsible for the birth of the robotics industry, Engelberger was an American physicist, engineer, and business man whose innovative contributions revolutionized manufacturing and society. The Unimate, one of Engelberger's greatest creations, was the very first industrial robot. It worked on a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in Ewing Township, NJ in 1961.  It has left a living legacy in an industry to which it gave birth. Please see the Obituary and details of his life at


A mighty bridge has fallen. Lem Fugitt, a pioneering blogger, accomplished photojournalist, and community friend, has passed.
Read David Calkins’ tribute here



Robotis is a provider of high quality humanoid robots serving professional research, academic (school) and hobby enthusiast markets. Robotis has provided workshops in the SoCal area in recent years, often on a custom basis for teachers, students and clubs, both for their industry-leading humanoids and their very affordable OLLO mini-rover table-top robots.

For more information, please contact Robotis at (949) 333-3635 and visit:


Watch out, as when you see this video, you will be startled! The USC researchers are pioneering quadruped robots that can walk over any terrain, check For more detail on the remarkable automaton research that just might be in your backyard,


Robotic surgery is safer and less invasive than traditional surgery, and it offers faster recovery. This technology was pioneered by da Vinci,

For SoCal sources, please see and, and Google for more options. Photo courtesy of da Vinci.