the system and launched the UAS.
The team then executed the operational scenario (details not revealed)
and safely retrieved the UAS.
Specs are sketchy, but we did find
out that KillerBee is fully autonomous,
with no piloting skills needed by the
operator. Maximum takeoff gross
weight is 164 lb, and it’s powered by
an 8 hp engine fitted with a two-blade prop. The stall speed is 45 kt,
and loiter speed is 55 kt. Mission
endurance is 15 hr, and it has an
impressive range of 972 nautical miles.
AUV Hovers Underwater
Schematic shows Odyssey IV — a
small, inexpensive robotic submarine
that can hover in place. Courtesy
of MIT Sea Grant AUV Lab.
6,000 m. It can also be fitted with a
mechanical arm, allowing it to grab
samples and perform manipulations such
as twisting a valve or clonking a lobster
on the head. Odyssey IV is pretty swift,
too, with a top speed of 2 m/sec.
The ultimate goal is to develop a
version that can stay underwater for
up to a year, collect and transmit data,
and ultimately return to its home base
without the need to surface at all.
RoboVox: All Talk
For journalistic purposes, it is occasionally necessary to be flexible with the
definition of a robot, and in the case of
RoboVox we sag from flexible to flaccid.
A creation of artist Martin Bricelj, the 8
m colossus doesn’t move or do anything
robotic, but at least it looks like an
automaton. Lest you leap to the conclusion that this is merely a pitiful cry for
notoriety from a starving artist, note
that it is presented as a socially relevant
vehicle for freedom and self-expression.
According to the creator, “Its
purpose is to serve as a tool for an
individual whose voice usually gets
lost in the sounds of the mass, the
RoboVox appears in downtown
society. An individual can send a text
message using his mobile phone to
the dedicated RoboVox’s number.
Upon receiving the SMS, RoboVox
says out loud the statement, the
protest, the declaration of love, or
whatever the message may read, thus
lending its voice to the anonymous
individual.” If you’re impressed, you
can purchase RoboVox merchandise
such as airline bags, T-shirts, and talking soft toys. Just log onto www.
robovox.co.uk and take your pick. It
may be the perfect Christmas gift for
that relative who has everything. SV
Researchers at MIT (www.mit.
edu) have revealed the new Odyssey
IV — a small, inexpensive robo sub that
can hover like a helicopter, which
should be really handy for deep-water
oil explorers, marine archaeologists,
oceanographers, and other folks who
need to loiter undersea for long periods
of time. Whereas previous Odyssey
models could operate only while
moving forward continuously, the IV
can stop anywhere in a water column
and constantly correct for currents
and obstacles. This makes it useful
for things like making detailed
inspections of an offshore oil platform and photographing flora and
fauna around an undersea vent. In a
sea trial completed off Woods Hole,
MA, it performed at depths of up to
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