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2020/09/24 Victoria Coleman Sworn In as 22nd DARPA Director

The Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Mr. Michael Kratsios, today administered the oath of office to Dr. Victoria Coleman, who was recently appointed as the 22nd director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Coleman succeeds Dr. Steven Walker who left the agency in January 2019. Dr. Peter Highnam, who has been DARPA deputy director since January 2018, had been serving as acting director since Walker’s departure. Most recently, Coleman was a senior advisor on microelectronics technology policy to the director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley. Before her time at Berkeley, Coleman was the CEO of Atlas AI P.B.C, a Silicon Valley startup that sought t...

2020/09/18 Creating Cross-Domain Kill Webs in Real Time

Two DARPA-developed technologies – a novel decision aid for mission commanders and a rapid software integration tool – played a critical role in the recent Air Force demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The Adapting Cross-domain Kill-webs (ACK) program and the System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) were among a number of technologies employed in the Aug. 31 – Sep. 4 ABMS on-ramp demonstration, which involved attacks using live aircraft, ships, air defense batteries, and other assets. ACK is developing a decision aid for mission commanders to assist them with rapidly identifying and selecting options for tasking – and re-tasking – assets within and across organizational boundaries. Specifically, ACK assis...

2020/09/18 Teams Demonstrate Swarm Tactics in Fourth Major OFFSET Field Experiment

DARPA OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) researchers recently tested swarms of autonomous air and ground vehicles at the Leschi Town Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF), located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington. The Leschi Town field experiment is the fourth of six planned experiments for the OFFSET program, which seeks to develop large-scale teams of collaborative autonomous systems capable of supporting ground forces operating in urban environments. [embedded content] Two Swarm Systems Integrators – Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and Raytheon BBN Technologies – are creating swarm systems architectures, advanced interfaces, and virtual and physical swarm testbeds for OFFSET. The Swarm Systems Integrators tested their autonomous platforms – comprising...

Lessons on virtual care from the COVID-19 pandemic

On August 24, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) hosted its first “virtual” Education Session titled Virtual Care in Canada: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The session focused on providing Canadian physicians with essential information on virtual care. “The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed the healthcare landscape, and unexpectedly drove physicians and patients to widely adopt virtual care to a much greater degree than ever before,” says Dr. Lisa Calder, incoming CEO at the CMPA. “We know physicians are looking for guidance on how to manage this new practice landscape.” In fact, since March of this year, the CMPA has received an unprecedented number of calls relating to virtual care. As use of virtual care continues to surge, it is crucial that physicians know how to...

August 2020 Robotics Transactions Continue Strong Summer Pace

The COVID-19 pandemic has impeded business worldwide, but robotics research, development, and commercialization have continued through the summer. In August 2020, companies working on autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, and healthcare systems continued to receive significant investment. In August 2020, Robotics Business Review tracked 50 transactions worth a total of $2.3 billion (U.S.). In comparison, there were 47 deals worth about $1.9 billion in July 2020, and 43 transactions worth $2 billion in August 2019. As with last month, there was not a significant change year over year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a 33% decline in global venture funding last month, according to Crunchbase, supply chain automation, aerial drones, and agricultural and service robot compani...

2020/09/04 DARPA’s SIGMA Program Transitions to Protect Major U.S. Metropolitan Region

On a blustery winter day last December, a car carrying radioactive material approached one of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s major transportation hubs. As the car got closer, an alarm flashed and sounded on a large monitor in the police operations center, identifying on a digital map the exact location of the vehicle and the specific radioactive isotope radiating from the car – Cesium-137. Within minutes, officers in the Port Authority Police Department – equipped with vehicle-mounted and pocket-sized radiation sensors displaying the same real-time digital map – tracked the vehicle and apprehended the suspects in a parking lot. Thankfully, the potential terrorists and radiation-emitting isotope were not a threat, as the scenario was only a drill. The December exercise mark...

2020/09/02 Episode 32: The Opportunity Hunter

In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Air Force Lt. Col. C. David Lewis, a program manager since 2018 in the agency’s Defense Sciences Office, takes listeners on a tour of the amazingly diverse portfolio of programs he oversees. The foci of these range from the deep math underlying optimization challenges, such as planning complex routes and managing supply chains, to using untapped signals in the atmosphere as indicators of both natural and human activities on the planet’s surface. He also shares a chronicle of his navigation, as a Black person, through the individual and systemic racism that confronted him as he pursued his love of science (which his sixth-grade teacher and key educational ally recognized) and later his ambition to become a fighter pilot (and even an astronau...

2020/09/01 DARPA Completes Key Milestone on Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Program

DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) today announced successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) and are ready to proceed to first free-flight testing within the calendar year. The joint Agency and Service effort seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile. HAWC performers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies have each tested advanced air vehicle configurations that promise to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight. Their upcoming flight tests will focus on hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufact...

COVID-19 highlights value of video laryngoscopy

By Patrick Nellis and Eliana Landori Reducing  risk In emergency departments and intensive care units across the country COVID-19 has changed the way hospitals operate. With an increased need to support patients in respiratory distress, a new focus is being placed on video laryngoscopy (VL) for intubating patients being put on a ventilator. VL has won growing acceptance because the enhanced visualization makes it more likely  intubation will be successful on the first try, making the process safer for physicians and patients compared to traditional direct laryngoscopy (DL).  Additionally, VL reduces the risk of spreading a highly contagious virus. “The availability of a video laryngoscope at every intubation minimizes errors and unforeseen difficulties, enhances fe...

RoboBusiness Direct Fall 2020 Series Launches With Expanded Program

New Program, Ongoing GoalRoboBusiness Direct is designed to foster robotics innovation, expand robotics business opportunities, and build a community of like-minded problem solvers with the goal of driving the growth of robotics businesses, as well as the global robotics sector. Brightest Minds, Leading CompaniesMore than a webinar or virtual event, RoboBusiness Direct is an ongoing, integrated series of presentations and media coverage delivered by brightest minds from the leading robotics and automation companies from around the world. The program runs weekly from August 27, 2020 until December. More information about the RoboBusiness Direct speakers, sessions schedule can be found HERE. Registration for RoboBusiness Direct is now open. There is no charge to register for RoboBusiness Dir...

2020/08/26 AlphaDogfight Trials Foreshadow Future of Human-Machine Symbiosis

A small Maryland company took first place in last week’s AlphaDogfight Trials Final event, a three-day competition designed to demonstrate advanced algorithms capable of performing simulated, within-visual-range air combat maneuvering – commonly known as a dogfight. Heron Systems’ F-16 AI agent defeated seven other companies’ F-16 AI agents and then went on to dominate the main event – a series of simulated dogfights against an experienced Air Force F-16 pilot – winning 5-0 through aggressive and precise maneuvers the human pilot couldn’t outmatch. “The AlphaDogfight Trials were a phenomenal success, accomplishing exactly what we’d set out to do,” said Col. Dan “Animal” Javorsek, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “The goal was to earn the respect of a fighter pilot – ...

2020/08/25 DARPA’s Gremlins Program Completes Second Flight Test in Demonstration Series

After meeting several primary objectives during risk reduction flights at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah in late July, DARPA’s Gremlins program now is targeting additional tests of its X-61A vehicle later this year. The program seeks to develop and demonstrate air launch and air recovery of up to four unmanned aerial systems (UASs), known as Gremlins Air Vehicles (or just Gremlins), within 30 minutes. Over several days in July, the technology development team completed multiple flight tests of the Gremlins air-vehicle ground and recovery systems, including demonstration of a recovery system safely retrieving and stowing the air vehicles. The team also conducted a controlled launch of a Gremlin flying for more than two hours and performed rendezvous and autonomous formation s...