The City Beat is running out of time to blog today. Sorry, sorry. But I do have time to drop a few links relevant to some stories I’ve been working on today.
First story: UND’s unmanned aircraftÂ team won a search and rescue competition in Queensland, Australia, this week, which is big enough news for President Robert Kelley to mention it in his State of the University Address today and vice president for research Phyllis Johnson to mention it at the R&D Showcase on Wednesday.
What is this competition? It’s a A$50,000 contestÂ among 11 university teams from around the world. The rules are pretty tough requiring a no-more-than 90 minute attempt to search an area about 8 square miles in size for a man-sized dummy, equipped with a heat lamp to simulate body heat, and dropping 2 cups of water near him. UND found “Outback Joe,” the dummy, but didn’t get the water close enough, winning only A$15,000. But it’s the first university to win the competition, so thumbs up to them. Check out Joe’s Twitter feed to get a sense of how things went.
Second story: A different kind of unmanned aircraftÂ competition is coming to Grand Forks, this one a little more combat-oriented, courtesy of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Check out the hilarious video on this page. Anyway, the mission here sounds extremely complex and I’d be surprised if any team made it in its first year.
What they have to do, according to the rules,Â is maneuver a small unmanned aircraft through a broken window into a simulated enemyÂ spy base, evade guards, security cameras, ground pressure sensors andÂ laser tripwires to pickup a tiny thumb drive filled with some sensitive information. And they have to do it all in 10 minutes.
I don’t think even the CIA has this technology yet!
What I thought was fascinating is how far we’ve come with unmanned aircraft technology. When the first AUVSI mission came out in 1995, all the rules required was the aircraft pick up some discs and move them over a 3-foot barrier. That was just 15 years ago.
Well, gotta go.