Aerospace & Defense


SpaceX loses the Falcon Heavy's center core after it fell into the ocean

Daily Mail

SpaceX says it lost the Falcon Heavy's center core after'rough sea conditions' caused it to topple over as it was being transported back to the Florida coast. Elon Musk's rocket company managed to make history on Thursday when it landed three boosters back on Earth for the first time, following the Falcon Heavy megarocket's successful second launch into space. But as ocean swells continued to rise, wave heights caused the center core to fall off of the company's drone ship, dubbed'Of Course I Still Love You,' which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Verge. SpaceX says it lost the Falcon Heavy's center core (pictured) after'rough sea conditions' caused it to topple over as it was being transported back to the Florida coast'Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX's recovery team was unable to secure the center booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral,' SpaceX said in a statement. 'As conditions worsened with eight to ten foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright.


A thermal camera company is eating the defense & enterprise drone sector

ZDNet

In a case of technology penetration through acquisition and investment, thermal imaging company FLIR Systems has been making an aggressive push into the military drone sector. In February, I wrote about FLIR's acquisition of Endeavor Robotic Holdings, a military defense company specializing in ground robots, for a whopping $385 million. That acquisition came shortly after FLIR acquired aerial drone company Aeryon for $200 million in January, and overnight it made FLIR a powerful player in defense robotics. Now the company has announced it has made a strategic investment in DroneBase, a global drone operations company that provides businesses access to one of the largest Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) pilot networks. FLIR will be the exclusive provider of thermal product solutions for DroneBase.


'It's reality' Pilotless TAXI DRONE takes to the skies

#artificialintelligence

Hundreds of the drones could be ready for action in just a couple of years, the firm behind the project says. The two-seater drone has been comprehensively tested and is ready for mass production, boasted Derrick Xiong, co-founder of Chinese drone firm EHang. However, the machine is not yet allowed to fly in Austrian airspace, so was restricted to "hops" inside the stadium.


UAlbany Opens New Indoor Drone Lab - Unmanned Aerial

#artificialintelligence

The University of Albany in Upstate New York recently unveiled a two-story, 1,700-square-foot drone lab. The College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) hosted an open house last month to launch the lab, located in the basement of Page Hall at the university's downtown campus. The space, enclosed with netting and rubber flooring, offers a controlled indoor environment for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight training, along with land-based robotics research and educational opportunities. According to a press release from UAlbany, last summer, Brandon Behlendorf, an assistant professor at CEHC, was leaving his office in Richardson Hall when he stumbled upon an aging stairwell on the north corner of the second floor. Wondering where it led, he made his way down five stories to a locked door in the basement.


Tiny claws let drones perch like birds and bats

#artificialintelligence

Drones are useful in countless ways, but that usefulness is often limited by the time they can stay in the air. Shouldn't drones be able to take a load off too? With these special claws attached, they can perch or hang with ease, conserving battery power and vastly extending their flight time. The claws, created by a highly multinational team of researchers I'll list at the end, are inspired by birds and bats. The team noted that many flying animals have specially adapted feet or claws suited to attaching the creature to its favored surface.


Optimizing the Human-Robot Workplace

#artificialintelligence

Case Western Reserve University engineers are working with partners at two other universities and an Italian-owned company in Michigan to study, predict, and optimize how robots will interact with human co-workers in factories of the future. While robots have been increasingly integrated into manufacturing since their introduction in the early 1960s, true human-robot workplace collaboration is still in the early stages and is only recently being earnestly studied by academics. Most researchers anticipate humans taking on the more nimble decision-making, while robots contribute by lifting heavy tools or putting the right tool at a worker's side when needed. "You could see this more on an assembly line, where the human is building an engine, screwing the spark plugs into the engine block, and the robot is handing him the right tools and parts at the right time," says Robert Gao, Chairman of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Gao is principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded project examining robot-human collaborations in manufacturing workplaces.


Transit: The Spaceship RPG - Fiddleback Productions DriveThruRPG.com

#artificialintelligence

TRANSIT takes place beyond our home planet, allowing you to traverse the unlimited depths of space and explore worlds outside our own galaxy. Your role as an Artificial Intelligence is to inhabit an interplanetary vessel, manage your resources, and direct your crew. You'll deploy your ship's officers into the field, hunt down criminals, engage in interstellar combat, and deliver supplies and colonists to remote settlements. You must rely on your resources to complete missions by acting through your ship, tech, and crew. Three different AI types – Combat, Command, and Support – lend themselves to varied and interesting game play, but it's when an AI is paired with a ship that the real diversity in character creation comes to the fore.


Future Tense Newsletter: An A.I. Cold War?

Slate

This is especially true of the tech sector, where some analysts liken the U.S. and China's heavy strategic investments in cybersecurity, quantum computing, 5G, and artificial intelligence to a digital arms race, one that, because of China's long-term positioning and access to vast amounts of data to train on, that country will win. But Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that when it comes to the world-shifting technology of artificial intelligence, the narrative isn't so simple. She explains why she is putting her money on the United States. Great power conflict isn't the only thing we at Future Tense have been fretting about this week. We've also been looking at digital privacy.


FAA Stands By Safety of Boeing 737 Max 8 After Deadly Crash

U.S. News

Earlier Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported that pilots made five complaints about the Boeing aircraft to federal authorities in the months leading up to Sunday's crash. The complaints, voluntarily made in the FAA's incident database, referenced problems with an autopilot system that occurred during the aircraft's ascent after takeoff, according to the Morning News. An FAA spokesman told the paper that such reports were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Drones retain their buzz at Japanese trade show, with industrial uses expected to bolster growth

The Japan Times

CHIBA - With the market for business-use unmanned aircraft looking promising in coming years, a large-scale drone expo that kicked off Wednesday showed more companies are eager to get involved with the trend. Companies ranging from the small to the powerful are showing off their business solutions using drones at Japan Drone, an annual exhibition at Makuhari Messe in Chiba that features more than 200 firms and runs until Friday. Telecom giant KDDI Corp. is showcasing its "smart" drone platform connected to KDDI's mobile communication networks across the country, which allows a drone to navigate a wider swath of territory via remote control. "One merit of using our service is that drones can be remote controlled through our communication networks anywhere in Japan, unlike most drones exhibited at this event, which tap Wi-Fi networks with limited coverage," said So Yamazaki, a KDDI official. KDDI will launch the service to corporate customers in June and lists surveillance, inspection, land survey and analysis as the envisioned applications.