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Connectivity in Robotic Systems

While many think of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or space probes and planet rovers when they think of unmanned systems, the field of robotics covers every environment known to man: sea, ground, air, and space. Beyond UAVs, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs) have begun to capture headlines, primarily in the role of security and defense. Likewise, terrestrial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are now gaining their share of the limelight. The U.S. Navy is even experimenting with a humanoid robot (SAFFiR) to help fight shipboard fires as a first responder.

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Controlling the Seas: Introducing a New Concept in Autonomous Surface/Underwater Vehicles

The boundary between the sea and sky is an important place to be. It’s the critical connecting layer for commercial and military information exchange between the undersea world to aerial, space and shore. Being present at this boundary between sea and sky, with cost-effective endurance in challenging conditions, requires the use of autonomous surface vehicles.

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UGVs — On the Cutting Edge of Thermal Management

Thermal management of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is more complex than other electronic equipment because they have to operate in harsh environments such as humid tropical rainforests or sandy deserts where moisture as well as dust and sand can compromise the reliability of the control electronics. Regular open enclosures are certainly not an option; instead they need sealed and ruggedized enclosures to also withstand hard shocks and vibrations.

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Deploying Next-Generation UAS Platforms with 3U VPX

More powerful. Lighter. Cooler. These are the key criteria for the design of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) in next-generation Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) platforms, which continue to grow in importance to military organizations worldwide. The ability of these platforms to provide persistent surveillance of targets while eliminating the need to put warfighters in harm’s way makes them indispensable assets to commanders. The effectiveness of these platforms in the field is governed by their sensor payload and their processing systems. Next-generation UAS designs, such as the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D), require high levels of processing power for multiple onboard sensors, and all that power must be delivered in a lighter, cooler configuration that minimizes the size, weight and power (SWaP) envelope of onboard electronics subsystems.

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Infrared Stereo Calibration for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Navigation

This method enables detection and classification of obstacles for avoidance and path planning. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California Many challenges still persist in the area of autonomous (and even semi-autonomous) vehicle navigation for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). One challenge is in detecting and classifying obstacles for avoidance and path planning. The use of laser-based sensors, such as lidar, has become quite common for assisting in such a task; however, lidar systems may be too expensive for certain applications, and are active, not passive sensors, so they may not be desirable in some missions. Lidar is adversely affected by smoke, dust, fog, and rain. Therefore, the use of passive camera sensors, such as typical color and infrared (IR) cameras, has become an important research topic in UGV navigation.

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Simultaneous Vibration Suppression and Energy Harvesting for a Multifunctional UAV Spar

Results show how long a UAV must fly before enough energy is harvested to be able to suppress a wind gust. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia The goal of this work was to investigate using harvested energy to directly control the vibration response of flexible aerospace systems. Small, lightweight, flexible Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) operate near flutter, providing both harvesting opportunities and vibration suppression requirements. The possibility that ambient energy might be harnessed and recycled to provide energy to mitigate the vibrations through various control laws was investigated. The goal was to integrate harvesting, storage, control, and computation into one multifunctional structure, and illustrate its benefits.

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Development and Evaluation of the Stingray Amphibious Maritime Unmanned Ground Vehicle

This small tactical robot can be deployed ahead of the team to provide enhanced situational awareness in boarding, breaching, and clearing operations. SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California Every year, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps conduct thousands of Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIOs) to enforce embargoes, intercept contraband, prevent drug and human smuggling, and fight piracy. These operations are usually conducted by Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) teams using rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) or helicopters. Key performance parameters were developed for a portable, throwable robot that can best support their missions. This robot can be used for advanced reconnaissance as the team is about to board a target vessel, to assist in compartment clearing, and for inspection of flooded compartments and bilges.

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