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Enormous kites flown by robots could help power a Mars colony

New Scientist

Any long-term base camp on Mars will need to be powered by renewable energy. A proposal developed in response to a competition run by the European Space Agency suggests using a giant kite flown by robots to harness high Martian wind speeds, which could provide enough energy to sustain several astronauts in their everyday work. Producing and storing renewable energy on Mars is difficult. It is further from the sun than Earth, so it only gets 43 per cent of the sunlight Earth does, making solar power less effective.

Robots flying a kite to generate electricity. What if you would use this?


Since 2007, two professors at the TU Delft have been researching ways to harvest energy from the wind using a kite. The robotic kite looks set to make its debut in the energy sector, but often inventions are used in unexpected ways. In this series of articles, we take robot innovations from their test-lab and bring them to a randomly selected workplace in the outside world. From kindergarten teacher Fransien, we learn that big kites could also be child's play, quite literally. A robot wheels in the kite and then slowly releases it, painting 8-shaped loops on the sky.

Insect inspired robots are coming to fix the world's wind turbines – By Futurist and Virtual Keynote Speaker Matthew Griffin


Join our XPotential Community, future proof yourself with courses from XPotential University, connect, watch a keynote, or browse my blog. The world of maintenance might sound dull, but when the aircraft of the future have autonomous robot snakes and cockroaches from Rolls Royce fixing them all of a sudden things get a little bit more interesting. Now, in another giant leap forward for robot bug-kind a company called BladeBUG in the UK have unveiled a bug-like robot that, like human wing walkers, performs "blade walks" along the blades of operational offshore wind turbines. "[The new robo-bugs] open the door to autonomous inspection and repair of wind turbines, improving the efficiency of the blades and reducing risk for rope access technicians," said Chris Cieslak, founder and director of BladeBUG. "[Our robot] uses a patent-pending six-legged design with suction cup feet, which means each of the legs can move and bend independently. This is significant because it enables the robot to walk on the blade's changing curved surface, as well as inside the blade, tower, or hub of the turbine."

DEME Tests AI-Backed Drone Ops at Rentel Offshore Wind Farm (Video)


DEME Offshore and Sabca have carried out a series of tests at the Rentel offshore wind farm with an aim to automate critical and ad hoc operations in the near future by using autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) and artificial intelligence (AI). The companies, which teamed up two years ago, have performed the first commercial, cross-border, "beyond visual line of sight" (BVLOS) drone operations at the wind farm 35 kilometres off the Belgian coast, where tests in Search & Rescue operations, environmental surveys, turbine and substation inspections, as well as parcel deliveries took place. During the tests, both a multicopter drone and a fixed-wing surveillance drone with a wing span of more than 3 metres were deployed in parallel. The long endurance surveillance drone took off from the Belgian coast and flew to the Rentel offshore wind farm. Meanwhile, an automated resident drone performed inspections and cargo flights from the substation and vessels.

Australian agtech firm Agerris helping farmers with weed management to improve crop yield


A "drone on wheels" robot developed by Australian agtech firm Agerris is the newest addition to the Victorian-based SuniTAFE Smart Farm that will be used to not only support the farm's operations, but also to train technical staff on-site. The Digital Farmhand was developed to help farmers improve crop yield, pest and weed detection, as well as reduce the need for pesticides. Each mobile roving robot runs on solar energy and features navigation sensors, laser sensors, infrared sensors, cameras. It also has an artificial intelligence system that can create weed heat maps, as well as detect each individual crop and determine its yield estimation, plant size, fruit and flowering count. The contract with SuniTAFE is one of several that Agerris has secured over the last few years since it spun out as a commercial entity from the University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics in 2019.

6 Emerging Technologies Of 2021


This listing marks 20 years since we started compiling an yearly choice of the year's most important technology. Some, for example mRNA vaccines, are already transforming our own lives, while some continue to be a couple of decades off. Below, you will get a brief description along with a link to a feature article that probes every technology in detail. We hope you will enjoy and research --taken collectively, we think this listing reflects a glimpse into our collective potential . Tech businesses have been shown to be poor stewards of their private information.

Soft robots for ocean exploration and offshore operations: A perspective


Most of the ocean is unknown. Yet we know that the most challenging environments on the planet reside in it. Understanding the ocean in its totality is a key component for the sustainable development of human activities and for the mitigation of climate change, as proclaimed by the United Nations. We are glad to share our perspective about the role of soft robots in ocean exploration and offshore operations at the outset of the ocean decade (2021-2030). In this study of the Soft Systems Group (part of The School of Engineering at The University of Edinburgh), we focus on the two ends of the water column: the abyss and the surface.

Symbiotic System Design for Safe and Resilient Autonomous Robotics in Offshore Wind Farms Artificial Intelligence

To reduce Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs on offshore wind farms, wherein 80% of the O&M cost relates to deploying personnel, the offshore wind sector looks to robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for solutions. Barriers to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) robotics include operational safety compliance and resilience, inhibiting the commercialization of autonomous services offshore. To address safety and resilience challenges we propose a symbiotic system; reflecting the lifecycle learning and co-evolution with knowledge sharing for mutual gain of robotic platforms and remote human operators. Our methodology enables the run-time verification of safety, reliability and resilience during autonomous missions. We synchronize digital models of the robot, environment and infrastructure and integrate front-end analytics and bidirectional communication for autonomous adaptive mission planning and situation reporting to a remote operator. A reliability ontology for the deployed robot, based on our holistic hierarchical-relational model, supports computationally efficient platform data analysis. We analyze the mission status and diagnostics of critical sub-systems within the robot to provide automatic updates to our run-time reliability ontology, enabling faults to be translated into failure modes for decision making during the mission. We demonstrate an asset inspection mission within a confined space and employ millimeter-wave sensing to enhance situational awareness to detect the presence of obscured personnel to mitigate risk. Our results demonstrate a symbiotic system provides an enhanced resilience capability to BVLOS missions. A symbiotic system addresses the operational challenges and reprioritization of autonomous mission objectives. This advances the technology required to achieve fully trustworthy autonomous systems.

The Autonomous Saildrone Surveyor Preps for Its Sea Voyage


If you happen to be crossing the San Francisco Bay or Golden Gate bridges this week, look for a massive surfboard with a red sail on top cruising slowly across the water. Don't flinch if you don't see anyone on board. It's actually an autonomous research vessel known as the Saildrone Surveyor and it's being steered remotely from shore. The 72-foot-long vessel is launching this week into the bay from its dock at a former naval base in Alameda, California. It is designed to spend months at sea mapping the seafloor with powerful sonar devices, while simultaneously scanning the ocean surface for genetic material to identify fish and other marine organisms swimming below.

Robots for kids: STEM kits and more tech gifts for hackers of all ages


Here's a great lineup of gift ideas and resources to get you started. All the signs were there. If my parents knew then what parents know now, they would have been prepared. But back in the 1960s and 1970s, the maker movement was still far in the future. Robots were something you only saw in movies and awesome TV shows (or as my Mom would often put it, "What in the world are you watching?"). Telling her that Lost in Space wasn't "in the world" tended to get me the All Powerful Glare of Motherly Annoyance.