The U.S. Army has just put more than a billion dollars into a new air defense system called IM-SHORAD to protect soldiers from drone attacks. It is a vital mission – but the last time the Army tried to develop something like this the project failed horribly. And even if the new system works as intended, serious questions remain.
The U.S. has enjoyed air superiority, if not air supremacy, in every conflict for decades. American planes have swept the enemy aircraft from the sky or destroyed them on the ground. The last time an American soldier was killed by enemy air attack was during the Korean War. As a result, while the Russians and others have continued to develop generations of armored vehicles carrying surface-to-air missiles or cannon, U.S. tactical air defense has been steadily wound down. By 2005 the U.S. Army had only a handful of Avengers, essentially Hummers mounting four or eight light Stinger missiles.
In 2015 the Army identified a critical gap in its short-range air-defense (SHORAD) capability as the threat of drones emerged:
“Since 2005…The use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs – drones) has increased exponentially, and UASs have been used successfully by both sides in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict,” noted the Congressional Research Service.
The threat was underlined in 2018 when Iraqi forces supported by the U.S. trying to re-take Mosul came under sustained attack by waves of small, grenade-dropping drones. USAF jets ruled the skies above, but were no use against quadcopters flying at a few hundred feet.
In response to an urgent needs request, the Army fast-tracked a selection process for a new Initial Maneuver, Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) vehicle.
vHive Secures $4M in an Investment led by Deutsche Telekom to Accelerate Expansion in the Enterprise Drone Hive Software Market
NEW YORK and LONDON, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ —
Funding will support vHive’s rapid growth trajectory as it helps enterprises gain business insights to their field assets while streamlining costs
- vHive’s platform digitizes enterprise’s field assets using autonomous drone hives, powering their digital business transformations.
- Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies is making a strategic investment in vHive to propel further expansion in the telecom industry.
- Enterprises benefit from accurate data analytics and insights about their field operations creating a tremendous market opportunity for vHive’s technology.
vHive, the only software solution that enables enterprises to digitize their field assets and operations using autonomous drone hives, announced today a $4 million extension to its Series A, led by Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP), Deutsche Telekom’s strategic investment fund advised by DTCP. Existing investors Octopus Ventures and StageOne Ventures participated in the funding, which will accelerate the company’s growth and expansion in the enterprise drone software market. Joel Fisch, Deutsche Telekom Vice President and TIP Co-managing Director has joined the Company’s board of directors.
Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading telecommunication companies, is investing in vHive to fuel the company’s continued expansion in markets that are going through digital transformation using autonomous drone hives. These markets include telecom, construction, cranes, insurance and others. The investment will support vHive’s leadership in data analytics, computer vision and AI, and further automate recognition of items of interest. Deutsche Telekom with its global portfolio, will assist in applying vHive’s solution in the Telecom space.
“We are thrilled to have the backing of a significant industry player such as Deutsche Telekom as a testimonial to vHive’s innovation,” said Yariv Geller, CEO and co-founder of vHive. “Deutsche Telekom’s investment demonstrates their commitment to digitizing their infrastructure using the vHive platform as
Einride, the Swedish autonomous trucking startup, unveiled a new vehicle type that the company hopes to have on the road delivering freight starting in 2021. The vehicles, dubbed Autonomous Electric Transport (AET), came in four different variations. And much like Einride’s previous prototypes, they come without steering wheels, pedals, windshields, and, in general, no cab at all.
Einride has been in the business of releasing interesting, eye-catching prototype vehicles since it was founded in 2016. There was the cab-less T-Pod, released in 2017, four of which are operating on public roads hauling freight for Oatly, the Swedish food producer. A year later, the company unveiled the T-Log, built to be more powerful than its predecessor for the job of (you guessed it) hauling tons of giant tree logs. Now it has a next-generation vehicle that it hopes it can put into production.
Einride’s also been engaged with the less glamorous part of the job, which is testing, validating, and seeking regulatory approval for its vehicles, all of which are electric and can be controlled remotely by a human operator, in addition to operating autonomously without human intervention. The company has yet to reveal its plans for production and manufacturing.
Design-wise, the AET vehicles look almost identical to Einride’s Pod (previously T-Pod) prototype: sleek, white, cab-less pods with smooth lines and an otherworldly feel. Einride CEO Robert Falck said the AET is more aerodynamic than previous iterations, which will help when the company starts to scale up its manufacturing. “When you nail a design the first time, why reinvent the wheel?” Falck said.
The new AET vehicles come in four levels. The first two — AET 1 and AET 2 — have top speeds of 30 km/h (18 mph), weigh 26 tons, have payloads of 16 tons, and a battery range
In partnership with the United Kingdom’s Strategic Command, which supports the Ministry of Defence, an unnamed company has developed a new battle-ready drone to assist armed forces with dangerous ground operations during urban warfare.
Reported by Popular Mechanics (via The Times), the i9 is a human-operated drone that can fly indoors, uses AI to locate and identify targets, and is outfitted with dual shotguns. If reading that makes you feel like we’re living in a 90s science fiction movie, well, I guess we are. Except Arnold is not headed to Mars.
As Popular Mechanics points out, breaching operations—when armed forces storm into a sealed off, enclosed area where enemy forces could be hiding—are one of the most dangerous type of ground operations. Casualties are usually high, especially among soldiers who enter the building first. Sending in a drone first is ideal for these kinds of operations. But hexacopters, or six-bladed drones like the i9, usually have issues with crashing to the ground if they get too close to a wall inside a small room, particularly if they are carrying something heavy, like a shotgun. The wall disrupts the airflow needed to keep the drone flying, which isn’t very useful in breaching operations.
The i9 is the UK’s first drone that can fly indoors while carrying heavy weaponry. The Ministry of Defence also hopes to develop other uses for the i9 as well, such as using it as a battering ram to knock other drones out of the sky and replacing the dual shotguns with either a rocket or chain gun. No, that is not the rambling of a video game designer. That is the desire of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
Neither Popular Mechanics nor
- The United Kingdom has developed a new drone devoted strictly to battlefield combat.
- The drone uses sensors and machine vision technology to detect targets.
- Once located, the drone can blast away at the target with twin shotguns.
The U.K. has developed a new fighting drone designed to help soldiers breach urban defenses. The i9 uncrewed aerial vehicle can navigate indoors, locate and identify targets, and then open fire with not one but two shotgun barrels. Like all weaponized drones, a human operator must make the decision to shoot or not shoot.
The drone, revealed by the Times of London, was developed for the British armed forces. The drone is meant to act as a breaching weapon, flying into a small room or house occupied by enemy troops and neutralizing them from within.
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Breaching operations are among the most dangerous in ground warfare. Ground troops must typically blow open a door and rush inside, shooting the enemy at point blank range. Casualties in such operations are typically very high, particularly for the first ones through the door.
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i9 allows a drone to do the most dangerous part of the job. With the new drone, British troops might break down the entry door with a demolition charge and then send the i9 in. Flying high and fast, the drone would outpace the defenders beneath it, identify them, and line up on an enemy target. The i9 operator could verify the targets are hostile and then authorize the drone to open fire.