Uncrewed Systems Technology 051 l Primoco One 150 l Power management l Ocius Bluebottle USV l Steel E-Motive robotaxi l UAVs insight l Xponential 2023 p Issue 51 Aug/Sept 2023 art 2 l Aant Farm TPR72 l Servos l Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda AUV

Read all back issues online www.ust-media.com UST 51 : AUG/SEPT 2023 UK £15, USA $30, EUROPE €22 Running the show Focus on new power management architectures Cost-cutters The emergence of high-end servos that don’t break the bank Certified kit The tests Primoco had to pass to allow its One 150 to be used for NATO missions

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3 August/September 2023 | Contents Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 24 20 48 58 108 04 Intro Exploiting different power sources, testing swarms of satellites and quantum navigation – uncrewed systems continue to evolve 06 Platform one: Mission-critical info Digital fibre optic gyros from Advanced Navigation, MIT uses image reflections to improve vision systems, researchers develop better ways to make flexible solar cells, and much more 20 In conversation: Dr Cara LaPointe The co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy explains the factors that need to be taken into account to gain widespread trust in the technology 24 Dossier: Primoco One 150 UAV developers with an eye on the military and defence markets first need to comply with a host of NATO standards, which as this company explains is difficult but ultimately worth it 38 Focus: Power management New power sources are prompting the development of new power management architectures to boost the efficiency and safety of uncrewed systems, as we show here 48 Digest: Ocius Bluebottle USV Exploiting wind, wave and solar power gives this vessel a theoretically unlimited endurance. We show how its developer was able to optimise the contribution of each one 58 Digest: Steel E-Motive robotaxi Autonomous commuter transport has come a step closer thanks to this eco-friendly, road safety-compliant cab 64 Insight: UAVs More and more uncrewed aircraft such as these are stepping in to carry out dirty, difficult or dangerous missions 74 Show report: Xponential 2023 part 2 Reflecting the sheer scale of this expo, here’s our second – and larger – report of the products that were on display 88 Dossier: Aant Farm TPR72 Heat recuperation is the ace up this microturbine’s sleeve, as it allows it to use a lower fuel-to-air ratio to power heavy UAVs running on jet fuel. Here’s how it was designed and developed 98 Focus: Servos A new wave of servo designs and architectures are emerging to supply high-performance devices that don’t break the bank 108 Digest: Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda Fitting thrusters on the ends of its dive planes has given this torpedo-like AUV some distinct advantages, as we explain 114 PS: Quantum navigation This emerging technology could provide a solution to the problem with even the best navigation systems – drift

ELECTRIC, HYBRID & INTERNAL COMBUSTION for PERFORMANCE ISSUE 147 JUNE/JULY 2023 Power for mountaineering The challenge of Pikes Peak The quest for 19,000 rpm MotoGP engine technology Race to road redefined Cosworth GMAs V12 www.highpowermedia.com UK £15, US/CN $25, EUROPE e22 THE COMMUNICATIONS HUB OF THE ELECTRIFIED POWERTRAIN Protection agencies Let’s stick together Trends in fuse and circuit protection technologies Latest advances in adhesives for EVs Commercial enterprise Development details of the latest magniX e-powertrains for airliners Read all back issues and exclusive online-only content at www.emobility-engineering.com ISSUE 020 | JUL/AUG 2023 UK £15 USA $30 EUROPE €22 4 August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Intro | August/September 2023 The fires raging across Greece, Italy and the US are demonstrating the impact of climate change. While uncrewed aircraft are busy helping to put out these fires without putting crews at risk, the latest autonomous marine technology is tracking currents and ocean warming. The latest Saildrone USVs are using Nvidia’s AI technology for local processing (page 6) while we have an in-depth look at the Bluebottle USV’s technology on page 48. Power management technologies detailed on page 38 are helping uncrewed systems make use of solar, wind and wave power, extending the range and mission times of autonomous systems. At the same time, a new generation of CubeSat satellites are monitoring the Earth’s surface from space, and the latest swarm algorithms are being tested in orbit with autonomous operation to help improve our understanding of the processes involved. This is brought together with the latest technologies for all kinds of uncrewed systems covered in our second report from the Xponential 2023 exhibition, on page 74, even to the extent of emerging quantum navigation technology for higher accuracy and lower power consumption, on page 114. Nick Flaherty | Technology Editor Onward and upward Read all back issues online www.ust-media.com UST 51 : AUG/SEPT 2023 UK £15, USA $30, EUROPE €22 Running the show Focus on new power management architectures Cost-cutters The emergence of high-end servos that don’t break the bank Certified kit The tests Primoco had to pass to allow its One 150 to be used for NATO missions Editorial Director Ian Bamsey Deputy Editor Rory Jackson Technology Editor Nick Flaherty Production Editor Guy Richards Contributor Peter Donaldson Technical Consultants Paul Weighell Ian Williams-Wynn Dr Donough Wilson Prof James Scanlan Dr David Barrett Design Andrew Metcalfe andrew@highpowermedia.com UST Ad Sales Please direct all enquiries to Chris Cope chris.cope@ust-media.com Subscriptions Frankie Robins frankie@ust-media.com Publishing Director Simon Moss simon@ust-media.com General Manager Chris Perry The USE network Having now provided several enterprises around the world with the support and connections they need to implement efficient and sustainable technological solutions, we’re keen to continue expanding this free service. If the uncrewed vehicle and/or system you’re working on could benefit from some independent advice, from engineers specialising in the appropriate field, then please do get in touch. Email your question/challenge/dilemma/predicament to thenetwork@uncrewedsystemsengineering.com or visit www.uncrewedsystemsengineering.com and raise a case with us. All questions will be treated in the strictest confidence, and there’s no obligation whatsoever to follow any recommendations made. Volume Nine | Issue Five August/September 2023 High Power Media Limited Whitfield House, Cheddar Road, Wedmore, Somerset, BS28 4EJ, England Tel: +44 (0)1934 713957 www.highpowermedia.com ISSN 2753-6513 Printed in Great Britain ©High Power Media All rights reserved. Reproduction (in whole or in part) of any article or illustration without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. While care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information herein, the publisher can accept no liability for errors or omissions. Nor can responsibility be accepted for the content of any advertisement. SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions are available from High Power Media at the address above or directly from our website. Overseas copies are sent via air mail. 1 year subscription – 15% discount: UK – £75; Europe – £90 USA – £93.75; ROW – £97.50 2 year subscription – 25% discount: UK – £135; Europe – £162 USA – £168.75; ROW – £175.50 Make cheques payable to High Power Media. Visa, Mastercard, Amex and UK Maestro accepted. Quote card number and expiry date (also issue/start date for Maestro) ALSO FROM HPM

UXV Technologies A break through in robotic control The brand new SRoC SRM Compatible Ruggedized 25 different inputs The SroC is a standardized product built for Defence robotics. It offers high communication flexibility by interfacing through our new Swappable Radio Modules (SRM) and/ or the Nett Warrior Connector. www.uxvtechnologies.com UXV Technologies, Inc Contact us The SRoC is a standardized product built for Defence robotics. It offers high communication flexibility by interfacing through our new Swappable Radio Modules (SRM) and/or the Nett Warrior connector. www.uxvtechnologies.com A breakthrough in robotic control UXV Technologies, Inc. SRM compatible | Ruggedized | 25 different inputs THE BRAND NEW SROC Contact us

6 August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Mission-critical info for uncrewed systems professionals Platform one Advanced Navigation has developed two digital fibre optic gyroscopes (DFOGs) with different performances (writes Nick Flaherty). The Boreas A90 and A70 are IMUs containing highly accurate DFOGs and closed-loop accelerometers. Underpinning their performance is a sensor fusion algorithm that extracts far more information from acceleration and orientation data than a Kalman algorithm. The A90 offers 0.005o roll and pitch, 0.01o latitude heading accuracy for the gyrocompass as well as 0.001o/hour bias instability and a 1000 Hz update rate. The A70 offers 0.01o roll and pitch, and the same 0.1o latitude heading accuracy, although the bias instability is lower, at 0.01o/hour. Both systems can acquire and maintain an accurate heading under all conditions without having to rely on GNSS, making them suitable for navigation in subsea, marine, land and air applications. They use a digital modulation technique that passes spread-spectrum signals through the fibre optic coil of the DFOG. This allows in-run variable errors in the coil to be measured and removed from the measurements. That makes a DFOG much more stable and reliable than traditional FOGs. It also allows for a smaller FOG with reduced coil length and still achieve the accuracy of one with a longer coil. The devices use a specially designed closed-loop fibre optic coil which has been developed to allow optimum sensing of in-run variable coil errors using the digital modulation technique. It also provides a high level of shock and vibration protection for the optical components. By integrating five sensitive optical components into a single chip and removing all the fibre splices, the size, weight and power of the devices have been reduced by 40% while significantly improving reliability and performance. The A90 and A70 also have an optional licence to add INS capabilities and enable integration with external GNSS receivers using Advanced Navigation’s range of interfaces and comms protocols. The technology is aimed at sectors such as autonomous vehicles, land surveying, and subsea navigation and mining. Navigation Digital FOGs cut errors The DFOGs use a special closed-loop fibre optic coil that allows optimum sensing of in-run variable coil errors

7 Platform one Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 Researchers in the US are developing ways to analyse reflections for more effective vision systems (writes Nick Flaherty). Researchers from MIT and Rice University have used machine learning (ML) algorithms to create a computer vision technique that uses reflections to image the world for driverless cars and UAVs. The ORCa (Objects as Radiance-Field Cameras) technique uses images of an object taken from different angles, converting its surface into a virtual sensor that captures reflections. It maps these reflections in a way that enables it to estimate depth in a scene and capture novel views that would only be visible from the object’s perspective. The technique can be used to see around corners or beyond objects that block the observer’s view, particularly in autonomous vehicles. For instance, it could enable a self-driving car to use reflections from objects it passes, such as lamp posts or buildings, to see around a parked truck. ORCa works in three steps. First, pictures of an object are taken from many vantage points, capturing multiple reflections from the object. Then, for each image from the real camera, it uses ML to convert the object’s surface into a virtual sensor that captures light and reflections that strike each virtual pixel on the surface. The system then uses virtual pixels on the object’s surface to model the 3D environment from the point of view of the object. Any distortions in the image depend on the shape of the object and the environment it is reflecting, both of which might consist of incomplete information. In addition, a reflective object might have its own colour and texture that mixes with the reflections. The reflections are also twodimensional projections of a 3D world, which makes it hard to judge depth in reflected scenes. “We have shown that any surface can be converted into a sensor with this formulation that converts objects into virtual pixels and virtual sensors. This can be applied in many different areas,” said Kushagra Tiwary, a graduate student in the Camera Culture Group at MIT’s Media Lab. “In real life, exploiting these reflections is not as easy as just pushing an enhance button,” said Akshat Dave, a graduate student at Rice University, who worked on the project. “Getting useful information out of these reflections is pretty hard, because the reflections give us a distorted view of the world.” Tiwary added, “You have to make sure the mapping works and is physically accurate, so it is based on how light travels and how it interacts with the environment.” Using the proof of concept, the researchers want to apply the technique to UAV imaging. ORCa could use faint reflections from objects a UAV flies over to reconstruct a scene from the ground. They also want to enhance ORCa so it can use other cues such as shadows, to reconstruct hidden information or combine reflections from two objects to image new parts of a scene. Machine vision Reflections on imaging The vision technique uses machine learning to map an object’s reflections to capture depth in a scene We have shown that any surface can be converted with this formulation into virtual pixels and sensors. This can be applied in many different areas

8 Researchers in China have developed a lightweight foldable solar cell intended for UAVs (writes Nick Flaherty). The team, at the Research Centre for New Energy Technology, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, say the cell is based on c-Si wafers. Reducing the thickness of a wafer can improve its flexibility but reduce its lightharvesting efficiency. Reducing a 160 µm-thick silicon wafer to 60µm provides a flexibility similar to that of a sheet of paper, but it has proven unsuitable for solar cell fabrication because more than 30% of the incident sunlight is reflected by its glossy surface. Chemically texturing microscale pyramids on the surface of the silicon has been widely used as an efficient strategy to reduce the reflectivity to less than 10%. However, when bending forces are applied to the texture, the maximum stress is located in the sharp channels between the pyramids, causing cracks. The team used an ultra high-speed video camera to investigate the cracking process of the wafer. This recorded a long fracture with three silicon particles being ejected from the edge of the wafer, their initial positions coinciding with the point at which the cracking initiated. The fracture behaviour of the wafers can be manipulated by tuning the sharpness of the channels between the pyramids, which modifies the stress state and deformation mechanism under bending loads. This reduces the intrinsic brittleness of the c-Si wafer. The team then built the foldable wafers into solar cells. Rather than using the more common passivated emitter and rear cells and tunnelling oxide passivated contact solar cells – which have an asymmetric structure design and are fired at a temperature of 800±20oC – a technology called superheterojunction (SHJ) solar cells with a symmetric structural design is fired at 180±5oC. That makes the technology more suitable for manufacturing flexible solar cells, because it is free from edge warping caused by inner stresses during the firing process. The resulting cell has a certified efficiency of 24.50% for a 244.3 cm2 wafer. Although this value was lower than that of a thick cell (25.83%), because it was affected by the inferior light-harvesting ability of the thinner wafer, it is higher than current flexible solar cells fabricated from other cost-effective materials. The efficiency should be further improved through better surface passivation. The team assembled the cells into a 10,000 cm2 flexible module and attached it to an inflated bag of gas. They then used a fan to model the effect of wind at a speed of 30m/s to simulate a violent storm. After 20minutes, the relative power loss was only 3.07%, suggesting that the module can operate well under such conditions. The lightweight nature of the flexible SHJ modules makes them suitable for charging near-space aerial vehicles, where the temperature can dip to −70oC at 20-75km. To model this, the researchers cycled the flexible modules between −70oC for an hour and 85oC for another hour. After continuous temperature cycling for 120hours, the average relative power loss was only 0.32%, showing that the modules can safely be operated in cold near-space conditions or at the South or North poles. Solar power Flexible cells advance Platform one August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Researchers have found a way to make thin, flexible cells with a comparable efficiency to thick cells

CubePilot Cube Pilot Ecosystem Cube ID-CAN remote identification Airspeed sensor Hexsoon PDB-40A W/BEC 5v & 12v Here4 Multi constellation RTK GNSS module RF Design radio modem Herelink RC, telemetry, and video transmission system USB IR-Lock IR-Lock Sensor Antenna ESC Hereflow Optical flow module Cube+ open source autopilot MAUC power nodule Gimbal Buzzer Lightware lidar CAN bus splitter Battery HEXSOON Hexsoon ESC 40-60A Eko Sky The VTOL fixed wind Plane Proudyl Made in Poland VTOL - Vertical Take-Off and Landing, the ability of an aircraft to take off vertically and land vertically, no need for a runaway. Compact and Portable design allows to prepare UAV in less than 10 minutes to flight without using any tool. All its advantages make it the perfect tool for surveying, forestry or civil engineering purposes. Herelink controller Here4 Multi constellation RTK GNSS module Airspeed sensor CubePilot BZBUAS Copyright 2023 CubePilot Australia. All rights reserved. Radio Modem Rt rCa,ntseml eims sei ot rnys, yasntde mv i d e o Open source autopilot MR TuKl t Gi cNoSnSs tme lol adtui ol en ESC Antenna IR-LOCK Sensor Power module Optical flow module Hexsoon ESC 40-60A Buzzer Battery CAN Bus Splitter Lidar Remote identification Gimbal PDB-40A W/BEC 5V & 12 V Airspeed sensor Controller Airspeed sensor MR TuKl t Gi cNoSnSs tme lol adtui ol en USB ekoSKY The VTOL fixed wing Plane Proudly Made in Poland VTOL - Vertical Take-Off and Landing, the ability of an aircraft to take off vertically and land vertically, no need for a runaway. Compact and Portable design allows to prepare UAV in less than 10 minutes to flight without using any tool. All its advantages make it the perfect tool for surveying, forestry or civil engineering purposes.

10 August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology NASA is launching a quartet of six-unit (6U) CubeSats into orbit to test swarm technologies (writes Nick Flaherty). Swarms of autonomous spacecraft promise to change the way NASA conducts science and exploration missions, but those operating a long way from Earth have to carry out functions on their own, owing to the time delay in communicating with ground stations and potential comms disruptions. Autonomy allows a mission to continue though, even when comms with the spacecraft are temporarily disrupted. It also allows the swarms to change behaviour to observe unexpected or rare phenomena. The project, called Starling, will see the CubeSats positioned about 355 miles above Earth and spaced about 40 miles apart. This is to demonstrate the ability to fly together autonomously while keeping track of each other’s relative positions and trajectories. The satellites will also demonstrate the ability to plan and execute activities as a group, without guidance from mission controllers, including responding to new information from onboard sensors. The project has a number of elements. In Reconfiguration and Orbit Maintenance Experiments Onboard (ROMEO) tests, cluster flight control software will initially operate in shadow mode, autonomously planning manoeuvres while the CubeSats are controlled from the ground. Once validated, ROMEO will demonstrate execution of swarm maintenance manoeuvres from aboard the spacecraft without ground intervention. The Starling Formation-Flying Optical Experiment will use commercial cameras to measure the position of stars so that each spacecraft can determine its own orientation relative to the stars. A navigation algorithm uses this orientation data and star tracker images to visually detect and track the other three craft. The Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy (DSA) experiment will use the dualband GPS receivers on the CubeSats to measure the density of atmospheric regions. Each orbiting CubeSat constantly changes position relative to the atmospheric phenomenon and the GPS satellites, requiring changes to the monitoring strategy in response to observations. Onboard DSA software will autonomously coordinate the selection of the best GPS signals across all spacecraft, to accurately capture regions of higher or lower ionospheric density. This is accomplished by first sharing information over a crosslink network to maintain a consistent state, then selecting the GPS signals to prioritise and share in the future. The CubeSats will also demonstrate creating and maintaining a Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) which automatically adjusts to changing conditions using two-way S-band crosslink radios/ antennas. If one comms node fails, the network automatically reconfigures to maintain full communication capabilities for the other craft in the swarm. The CubeSats will be in a Sunsynchronous orbit around the Earth. These are nearly polar orbits that allow a satellite to consistently see the same amount of sunlight each orbit and therefore generate the same amount of power with its solar panels. The CubeSats were provided by Blue Canyon Technologies, in Colorado, which is also providing mission operations support. Rocket Lab USA is providing launch and integration services, and the payloads come from Stanford University’s Space Rendezvous Lab, Emergent Space Technologies in Maryland, CesiumAstro in Texas and L3Harris Technologies in Florida. Space vehicles In-orbit swarming test In the NASA project, four CubeSats will orbit the Earth at about 355 miles

T-Motor T-Motor the safe propulsion system Power Makes your exploration www.tmotor.com Platform one Two reconfigurable serial transceivers have been developed to reduce the complexity of control systems (writes Nick Flaherty). The THCS253 and THCS254, developed by THine Electronics in Japan, can serialise different types of signals and allow users to add additional sensor functions to systems by changing only the setting of registers in the controller. For example, the THCS253 can serialise sensing signals using 32 general-purpose IO (GPIO) interfaces into two differential signals that can reduce the number of cables and connectors by up to 88%. This reduces the size and weight of uncrewed systems, and cuts the EMI from many cables. It also boosts quality in manufacturing by simplifying assemblies that would otherwise require many cable interconnections. The transceivers enable systems to be expanded without extensive redesigns. Developers can set 32 GPIO pins on the THCS253 or 20 pins on the THCS254 as the intended signals. The devices also support up to two systems of I2C interconnection, in addition to supporting independent clock signals from the main system board and sensor subsystems. This allows AI-enabled sensing systems to use independent clock signals in the AI processing and sensing boards. Control systems Control complexity cut The transceivers can reduce the number of control system cables and connectors by up to 88% POWER MAKES YOUR EXPLORATION www.tmotor.com

12 Platform one August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Researchers in Germany have developed a technique for more accurate mapping of lakes and rivers by uncrewed systems (writes Nick Flaherty). Surveying inland bodies of water precisely is a challenging task for authorities and port operators, who have to provide up-to-date maps of riverbeds and port facilities. The researchers, at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB), have therefore developed an easy-to-operate, uncrewed vessel that autonomously surveys bodies of water such as rivers, lakes and harbours above as well as below the surface, and produces corresponding 3D maps. 3D reconstruction of the river banks is generated by combining cameras and a Lidar scanner, while the sonar can map depths of up to 100 m. The project is based on a commercial USV connected to a central control station on land. GPS satellite navigation, acceleration and angular rate sensors as well as a doppler velocity log sensor enable the vessel to feel its way incrementally along the bottom of the body of water autonomously. The data from the various sensors is merged to guide the navigation system. For mapping above water, laser scanners and cameras are used in combination with mapping software developed at Fraunhofer IOSB, enabling the devices to reconstruct high-precision 3D models of the surroundings. In turn, the underwater mapping is carried out with the help of a multi-beam sonar, which is integrated into the sensor system and creates a complete 3D model of the bed. “Our navigation system is semiautomatic, in that the user needs only to specify the area to be mapped,” said Dr Janko Petereit, a scientist at the Fraunhofer IOSB. “The surveying process itself is fully automatic though, and the data is evaluated using just a few clicks of the mouse.” The first step is to specify the area to be surveyed; the software uses that information to calculate the route. The USV autonomously evades obstacles detected by the laser scanner and sonar. During a mission, a quick 3D model, including dynamic objects such as moving vessels, is generated in real time for navigation purposes. A second, high-precision 3D model is computed by the software after data evaluation, capturing both the floor of the body of water and the scene above the water surface, while also ignoring moving objects. Tests of the vessel took place on a number of lakes. The operational prototype is currently being used by the Smart Ocean Technologies research group at Fraunhofer in other projects that focus on underwater and surface robotics. In addition to autonomy algorithms, autonomous shipping also requires highly accurate maps, which are not always available at present. “Currently, manual surveys are only conducted every 1 or 2 years, and provide far less accurate results than our 3D models, so the condition of the waterways is not optimally captured,” Dr Petereit said. “River surveys will therefore need to be conducted far more often in the future and with a higher level of detail, which our system offers in a cost-effective way.” Mapping 3D surveys simplified The Fraunhofer researchers have developed an easy-to-use way to map lakes and rivers accurately

Infineon Technologies has qualified its ferroelectric memories for more reliable data logging (writes Nick Flaherty). The 1 Mbit and 4 Mbit FRAM memory devices have zero delay on the data write process so that system data can be captured and recorded up to the last instant before an accident or a userdefined trigger event. Both use the serial (SPI/QSPI) interface, have low power consumption that comes with using FRAM and operate from 1.8 to 3.6 V in a standard 8-pin SOIC package. FRAM memory has an endurance of 10 trillion read/write cycles to support data logging at 10 µs intervals through a 50 MHz SPI serial interface. 108 MHz operation will be supported in QSPI mode in future devices. The devices are also designed to retain data for over 20 years of operation and for more than 100 years after loss of power, making them suitable for rugged applications. Bpth comply with the AEC-Q100 Grade 1 automotive qualification, which supports data storage in autonomous systems with an extended temperature range of -40 to +125 oC. “Data logging requirements are growing rapidly in automotive systems, as trends toward the broader use of electronic systems and industry regulations have encouraged the use of high-reliability non-volatile memories in airbag safety systems, along with engine control and battery management systems,” said Ramesh Chettuvetty, vice-president RAM Solutions at Infineon. Memory Chips have long memory Infineon’s FRAM chips are designed to retain data for more than 20 years Harwin’s connector products are proven to perform in extreme conditions, with shock, vibration and temperature range rigorously tested. WITH OUR QUALITY, SERVICE, SUPPORT, AND HIGHLY RELIABLE PRODUCTS, YOU CAN DEPEND ON HARWIN. CONNECT TECHNOLOGY WITH CONFIDENCE // WWW.HARWIN.COM Harwin UAV Uncrewed Systems July 23.indd 1 17/07/2023 07:55

14 Platform one August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Saildrone is using Jetson modules with machine learning (ML) for its USVs to study weather, marine life and the ocean floor (writes Nick Flaherty). The nautical data collection technology has tracked hurricanes in the North Atlantic, discovered a 3200 ft underwater mountain in the Pacific Ocean and begun to help map the world’s ocean floor. The data streams are processed on Nvidia Jetson modules for AI at the edge and are being optimised in prototypes using Nvidia’s DeepStream software development kit (SDK) for intelligent video analytics. Saildrone is also using Nvidia’s JetPack SDK to run ML frameworks on the module for image-based vessel detection to aid navigation. The ML runs mostly locally on the Jetson module but can run on the cloud as well over a satellite connection, as bandwidth can be limited and costly to shuttle from its suite of high-resolution imaging sensors. The USVs have oceanographic sensors for measuring wind, temperature, salinity and dissolved carbon. Saildrone also enables research of ocean and lake floors using bathymetric sensors, including deep sonar mapping using single or multibeam sensors for going deeper or wider. Its perceptual sensor suite also includes radar and visual underwater acoustic sensors. DeepStream technology is used for image pre-processing and model inference on the vessel. Saildrone is seeking to make ocean intelligence collection cost-effective, offering data-gathering systems for science, fisheries, weather forecasting, ocean mapping and maritime security by providing more processing on the vessels. It has three different types of USV with a control centre service to monitor them and provide real-time data. All the USVs are monitored around the clock, and operators can change course remotely via the cloud if needed. Saildrone pilots set waypoints and optimise the routes using meteorological and oceanographic data from a vessel. “We’ve sailed into three major hurricanes, and right through the eye of Hurricane Sam, and the vehicles have come out the other side – they are pretty robust platforms,” said Blythe Towal, vice-president of software engineering at Saildrone. Running mostly on solar and wind power requires energy-efficient computing to handle so much data processing. “With solar power, being able to keep our computing load power efficiency lower than a typical computing platform running GPUs by implementing Nvidia Jetson is important for enabling us to do these kinds of missions,” said Towal. The University of Hawaii at Manoa is using three, 23 ft Saildrone Explorer USVs to study the impact of ocean acidification on climate change. A 6-month mission around the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Kaui will help evaluate the ocean’s health, monitoring the impact of acidification on coral, oysters, clams, sea urchins and calcareous plankton. One of the Saildrone USVs recently completed a 370-day voyage monitoring carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, sailing from Rhode Island across the North Atlantic to Cabo Verde, down to the equator off the west coast of Africa, and back to Florida. Marine vessels ML helps ocean surveys Nvidia Jetson modules are helping to process Saildrone data about marine life and the ocean floor

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16 August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) has combined its Dolphin simulation software with the Voyager AI-based intelligent autonomous navigation software from Robosys Automation to test the safety and performance of obstacle avoidance systems (writes Nick Flaherty). MARIN successfully trialled the original Voyager 100 reference software in its ship simulator as part of the Netherlands Joint Industries Project, which culminated in North Sea trials with three ships. The aim of the project was to measure the compliance of autonomous navigation software with international collision regulations. Voyager AI now integrates and controls multiple ships’ hardware, including vessel systems, switches, relays and monitoring systems and alarms. These can range from deck and hull sensors to creating an automatic response to initiate a fire extinguisher. “The original Voyager 100 performed well in simulation tests, so we are looking forward to evaluating the improvements included in Robosys Automation’s latest version,” said Dimitri van Heel, senior project manager for MARIN. The AI version has improved collision avoidance algorithms developed using simulation and digital twin technology to emulate a vessel in operation. Multivessel avoidance manoeuvre scenarios have also been enhanced. This version also includes a loss of comms recovery function, to give operators mission continuity in the event of a breakdown in comms. An integrated remote and autonomous platform alarm, and a monitoring and control system, provide full support for uncrewed craft. Vessel tracking and dynamic navigational path changes are made in accordance with a vessel’s manoeuvrability and its other performance characteristics, to produce a manoeuvring path matched to that vessel. Testing AI boosts collision tests MARIN and Robosys Automation have teamed up to test the safety of collision avoidance systems Researchers in France have developed a 256-channel beam steering device for Lidar sensors in driverless cars (writes Nick Flaherty). The development at CEA-Leti in Grenoble involved 3D Integration of through-silicon vias (TSVs) and flip-chip technologies to package the optical devices. The 10 µm-diameter TSVs significantly improve interconnect density by distributing them on the whole backside surface of the devices. Combining 40 µm fine-pitch flip chips on a silicon interposer, the integration increases the performance and compactness of Lidars, while lowering their cost for use in autonomous vehicles. The researchers developed steering concepts using wafer-level silicon technology, including optical phase arrays. A 1550 nm wavelength beam was then brought into the circuit through grating couplers, then guided through silicon oxide waveguides to the steering area. This provides precise, latency-free information on the position and speed of obstacles surrounding road transport vehicles, independently of light conditions and with sharp angular resolutions. Driverless cars Beam steering for Lidars

Platform one Researchers at EPFL’s School of Engineering in Switzerland have created an origami-like robot that can change shape for use in space systems (writes Nick Flaherty). The Mori3 combines polygon meshing and swarm behaviour to morph from 2D triangles into almost any 3D object. The research shows the promise of modular robotics for space systems that don’t have the room to store different robots for each task that needs to be carried out. The researchers hope the robot will be used for communication purposes and external repairs. “We have shown that polygon meshing is a viable robotics strategy,” said Christoph Belke, a post-doctoral robotics researcher at EPFL. To achieve this, the team had to push the boundaries of various aspects of robotics, including the mechanical and electronic design, computer systems and engineering. “The robots can change their own shape, attach to each other, communicate and reconfigure to form functional and articulated structures,” Belke said. Space vehicles The shape of things? Dr Donough Wilson Dr Wilson is innovation lead at aviation, defence, and homeland security innovation consultants, VIVID/ futureVision. His defence innovations include the cockpit vision system that protects military aircrew from asymmetric high-energy laser attack. He was first to propose the automatic tracking and satellite download of airliner black box and cockpit voice recorder data in the event of an airliner’s unplanned excursion from its assigned flight level or track. For his ‘outstanding and practical contribution to the safer operation of aircraft’ he was awarded The Sir James Martin Award 2018/19, by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. Paul Weighell Paul has been involved with electronics, computer design and programming since 1966. He has worked in the realtime and failsafe data acquisition and automation industry using mainframes, minis, micros and cloud-based hardware on applications as diverse as defence, Siberian gas pipeline control, UK nuclear power, robotics, the Thames Barrier, Formula One and automated financial trading systems. Ian Williams-Wynn Ian has been involved with uncrewed and autonomous systems for more than 20 years. He started his career in the military, working with early prototype uncrewed systems and exploiting imagery from a range of systems from global suppliers. He has also been involved in ground-breaking research including novel power and propulsion systems, sensor technologies, communications, avionics and physical platforms. His experience covers a broad spectrum of domains from space, air, maritime and ground, and in both defence and civil applications including, more recently, connected autonomous cars. Professor James Scanlan Professor Scanlan is the director of the Strategic Research Centre in Autonomous Systems at the University of Southampton, in the UK. He also co-directs the Rolls-Royce University Technical Centre in design at Southampton. He has an interest in design research, and in particular how complex systems (especially aerospace systems) can be optimised. More recently, he established a group at Southampton that undertakes research into uncrewed aircraft systems. He produced the world’s first ‘printed aircraft’, the SULSA, which was flown by the Royal Navy in the Antarctic in 2016. He also led the team that developed the ULTRA platform, the largest UK commercial UAV, which has flown BVLOS extensively in the UK. He is a qualified full-size aircraft pilot and also has UAV flight qualifications. Dr David Barrett Dr David Barrett’s career includes senior positions with companies such as iRobot and Walt Disney Imagineering. He has also held posts with research institutions including the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, MIT and Olin College, where he is now Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, and Principal Investigator for the Olin Intelligent Vehicle Laboratory. He also serves in an advisory capacity on the boards of several robotics companies. Uncrewed Systems Technology’s consultants 17 Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 The Mori3 can morph from 2D triangles into almost any 3D object

18 Platform one Uncrewed Systems Technology diary August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Commercial UAV Expo Americas Tuesday 5 September – Thursday 7 September Las Vegas, USA www.expouav.com The 2nd Annual AI for Defense Summit Wednesday 6 September – Thursday 7 September www.ai.dsigroup.org Maryland, USA DSEI Tuesday 12 September – Friday 15 September London, UK www.dsei.co.uk Unmanned Systems West Wednesday 20 September – Thursday 21 September San Diego, USA www.americanconference.com/unmanned-systems-west UAV Technology Monday 25 September – Tuesday 26 September London, UK www.smgconferences.com/defence/uk/conference/ UAV-Technology DroneX Tuesday 26 September – Wednesday 27 September London, UK www.dronexpo.co.uk UAS Summit & Expo Tuesday 10 October – Wednesday 11 October Grand Forks, USA www.uas.bbiconferences.com Intergeo Tuesday 10 October – Thursday 12 October Berlin, Germany www.intergeo.de Egypt Defence Expo Monday 4 December – Thursday 7 December New Cairo, Egypt www.egyptdefenceexpo.com 2024 UMEX Monday 22 January – Thursday 25 January Abu Dhabi, UAE www.umexabudhabi.ae Geo Week Sunday 11 February– Tuesday 13 February Denver, USA www.geo-week.com Space-Comm Expo Wednesday 6 March – Thursday 7 March Farnborough, UK www.space-comm.co.uk Oceanology International Tuesday 12 March – Thursday 14 March London, UK www.oceanologyinternational.com/london XPONENTIAL Monday 22 April – Thursday 25 April San Diego, USA www.xponential.org Energy Drone & Robotics Summit Monday 10 June – Wednesday 12 June Texas, USA www.edrcoalition.com Eurosatory Monday 17 June – Friday 21 June Paris, France www.eurosatory.com MOVE Wednesday 19 June – Thursday 20 June London, UK www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/move Farnborough International Airshow Saturday 22 – Wednesday 26 July Farnborough, UK www.farnboroughairshow.com

As conflicts around the world drive up defence and security budgets, attendance at this year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) is expected to outdo all previous editions, as the world’s largest technology expo for military, security, and emergency services applications sets up in the ExCeL in London for its 24th year, from September 12 to 15. With this year’s theme of Achieving an Integrated Force across land, air, sea and space as well as the cyber and electromagnetic domains, autonomous vehicles are expected to have a bigger presence than ever. Advances in interoperability and teaming of crewed and uncrewed systems are likely to be showcased widely among the 2800 exhibitors (which includes at least 230 suppliers doing so for the first time). Attendees seeking solutions for tackling defence challenges can follow this year’s DISruptive TEChnology (DisTec) Trails, which are designed to guide visitors around the exhibition according to their areas of interest, as well as the Future Tech Hub for cuttingedge solutions and insightful discussions on AI, cyber security and more. To register your attendance or find out more about the event, go to www.dsei. co.uk/UncrewedSystemsTechnology Industry Defence and Security Equipment International Aerospace Robotics Software Aerodynamics Propulsion Director of Engineering Quality Hardware Electronics UAS UGV Electrical Simulation Space Vehicle Field UAM Data Communication Battery cell Full Stack Design Air Vehicle Design Diagnostic Autopilot Mechanical Backend Autonomous DevDecOps Uncrewed RF Design SAR signal processing Flight Operations Process Test Ground control Application Firmware Embedded Systems Integration UAV USV Over 18,500 engineers across the uncrewed and autonomous sector have viewed jobs on our recruitment portal so far this year. Do you have a career opportunity they need to know about? Contact teddy@uncrewedengineeringjobs.com for more information on our 1x, 5x, 10x & unlimited job packages.

20 There can be few more ambitious goals than ensuring the safe integration of AI and autonomous systems into society. In essence, that is the mission statement of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy (IAA) and, by extension, of its co-director Dr Cara LaPointe. A marine engineer, diver and former naval officer, LaPointe likes to define that as creating trustworthy technology and building trust. “We are operating at the intersection of technology and humanity,” she says. “These systems will never be used if people don’t trust them.” With a background in engineering, science and the arts, LaPointe says it is vital to combine technical knowledge with an appreciation for the humanities across different cultures if developers are to understand what people need from technology. She illustrates the importance of that with an experience she had in her early 20s as a student on the island of Yadua, Fiji, where she studied the impact of a novel technology on the indigenous culture. “In that case, the novel technology was a motorboat that gave people on the remote island easy access to the main islands, so the subsistence economy was transitioning to a cash economy, and that was disrupting the traditional common property resource management regimes and governance structures,” she recalls. In creating assurance, it is critical to create AI and autonomous systems that people from diverse backgrounds will trust. “What it will take for me to trust them is different from what it will take for you to trust them, and completely different from what it will take for the people of Yadua to trust them,” she says. “There are a lot of complex social science issues embedded in this, which is why The co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy tells Peter Donaldson about how to gain society’s trust in AI and uncrewed systems A question of trust August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The US Navy’s Sea Hunter ASV arrives at Pearl Harbour. LaPointe’s navy jobs included shaping policy on the introduction of autonomy to the fleet. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aiko Bongolan)

21 we take a multi-disciplinary approach.” Run jointly by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, the IAA works by engaging with academia, industry, governance bodies and the military to draw on expertise from different disciplines. The IAA extends this approach to uncrewed systems, an example being the partnership it formed with AUVSI in 2019 to provide an opportunity to bring together researchers, technology developers, users and regulators to address assurance issues. A major focus of the IAA’s work, LaPointe adds, is aimed at directly helping engineers through the development of tools and methods of assurance that can be generalised across different types of systems and multiple domains, from uncrewed vehicle systems to medical robotics. “A big piece of that is starting to develop a comprehensive and robust systems engineering process for intelligent or learning-based autonomous systems,” she says. ‘Guardian’ tools Ultimately, this could result in a set of standards analogous to those that make sure certified aircraft are safe, but LaPointe cautions that before such standards are possible there is a lot of fundamental research to be done. “The problem with learning-based systems is that, often, we can’t predict where the safe operating envelopes are going to be, as there are edge cases that we don’t always know exist,” she says. “There are so many amazing potential benefits of autonomous systems and AI, and we want to realise all of them. At the same time, there are potential negative impacts that are either unintended consequences or the results of malicious actors manipulating the technology, so we need tools to provide guard rails.” Those could be cyber security tools or tools to make sure developers understand their datasets. If there is something wrong with the data, it might be because someone is ‘poisoning’ the dataset, or it could simply be that a system’s sensors aren’t working very well and are therefore providing poor data. “There is no silver bullet, so we need a set of tools and processes to help us throughout the life cycle of the technology,” she says. “We need tools to help us better drive requirements for technology. “That is where the human need for trust comes in, and you have to have a feedback loop between that and the requirements for how you develop a system. We also need tools for the design and development phases.” One crucial decision to be made at the requirements stage is whether systems have to be ‘explainable’, LaPointe notes. In an explainable system, engineers can understand the reasoning that leads to decisions or predictions, while a learningbased AI system that is not explainable is essentially a ‘black box’ whose reasoning cannot be followed. “In some cases they might have to be explainable; in others they might not. That makes a really big difference, and you have to understand that before you start to design an autonomous system. It’s an important feedback loop.” In LaPointe’s view, there is no way to design out all the risk from an AI-enabled system, so we need tools for use with operational systems, such as monitors and governors. What she calls ecosystem management tools with much broader application are also important, she stresses, because it is not sufficient to consider the safety of individual autonomous systems in isolation. “We are looking to a future when there will be many different autonomous systems, including cyber-physical systems and vehicles, plus many AIenabled decision algorithms running transportation grids and other critical infrastructure,” she says. “So we spend a lot of time thinking about how the entire ecosystem needs to involve in concert with the individual systems so that we get to the point where autonomous systems are trustworthy contributors to society.” Ethical AI When any AI or autonomous system has to make decisions that affect lives, ethical issues arise. LaPointe spent much of the last 10 years of her US Navy career in various technical and policy roles in Washington DC that were concerned with introducing more autonomy and AI into the US fleet. During that time she pushed for the inclusion of ethics into the service’s approach to the technology as early as possible, and now says she is heartened by what she sees as the widespread understanding of the importance of ethics to technology. “For a while, there was a tendency to assume that if an algorithm is doing something it must be fair, but the fact is that there are always values built Cara LaPointe | In conversation Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 A future with large numbers of different autonomous systems, including vehicles, interacting in complex urban environments will require them to be highly reliable and trustworthy