Issue 55 Uncrewed Systems Technology Apr/May 2024 Sellafield’s UAV equipment l Applied EV Blanc Robot l Battery tech l Robotican’s Goshawk l UGVs l UAVHE RW1 rotary l Roboat UVD l Autopilots l Arkeocean UVD l UMEX 2024 l CycloTech UVD

66 repairs has also been made easier for maximising uptime.” In addition to improving the experience of passengers and technicians, AuVe Tech aims to take a further step towards SAE Level 4 autonomy and safety with MiCa. To that end, all onboard electronics, as well as the steering and braking systems, are doubled for safety. Additionally, sensors around the vehicle not only give 360o of perception, but their angles and field of views have changed to bring minimum visibility much closer to the vehicle than in the Iseauto. The various sensors are mounted on a dedicated rail on top of MiCA, enabling them to point down to view the immediate space around the vehicle, and to be swapped in and out smoothly. The sensors include eight external cameras (plus two interior ones), seven Lidars and a Smartmicro automotive radar. Also installed onboard is an Xsens GNSS with dual-input antennas and an IMU. Power for these (and for MiCa’s 25 kph top speed) comes from a 17.6 kW/h battery, integrated with an AC/DC that enables 22 kW fast-charging from industrial AC sockets. If constantly driving, MiCa can operate for seven hours straight, but the peaks and troughs of transportation demand each day are such that the vehicle can serve for up to 20 hours between charges (with a total recharging time of three hours and 55 minutes on a 22 kW charge). The majority of energy consumption still comes from keeping the cabin climate comfortable for passengers in extremely cold or hot climates (which can shrink its maximum continuous operating time from seven to three hours). Future versions of MiCa may, like the Iseauto, incorporate a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender for extra energy. “We have also continued optimising our autonomous driving software for manoeuvring around obstacles on the road, or for making smart decisions at difficult spots, like crossings, but it bears noting that MiCa’s enhanced sensor visibility around itself, compared with the Iseauto’s, including detecting farther ahead and at the back, makes a huge difference for our sensor coverage and safety integrity,” Mossov says. “That, plus the doubling up of subsystems, has enabled us to now do regular, weekly vehicle tests without a safety operator onboard in closedoff portions of public streets, which, from a safety perspective, is needed to demonstrate that if one subsystem goes out, the vehicle can autonomously make a safe stop and alert the fleet-management system with relevant information.” Crop cultivation Arable farming tasks are difficult to automate, as crops can distribute, develop and even move in unpredictable ways, based on weather, wildlife, pests and other factors. Weeding is especially challenging due to the density and variety of forms in which weeds grow, as well as their proximity to valuable crops (and the closer weeds grow to crops, the more nutrients they steal). As growers find it increasingly difficult to find and train new seasonal personnel for such tasks, Czechia-based Ullmanna is developing technologies by which weeding, and other complex field operations, could be handled by autonomous tractors and other farming UGVs in the near future. “We have two core technologies. One is Newman, our robotic system with electromechanically actuated implements for running behind a tractor, and the other is AROW, essentially a camera box, which is installed in Newman and is actually the essential part of the machine for intelligent, autonomous control,” says Martin Ullmann, CEO and co-founder of Ullmanna. “AROW recognises the crops and weeds, and sends control signals to Newman, which has the cultivator units – knives, basically – to prune the weeds. AROW is also offered to other manufacturers for smart vision tasks in agriculture. As farming tasks are very complex and meticulous, you generally don’t find complete agriculture UGVs April/May 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology AuVe Tech’s new MiCA shuttle is designed with a top rail for easy mounting and replacing of sensors, and observing objects very close to the vehicle body (Image courtesy of AuVe Tech)