Greg Galitzine : Robotics
Greg Galitzine

July 2010

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Northrop Grumman to Demonstrate Autonomous Aerial Refueling

July 4, 2010

Northrop Grumman has received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract award of $33million to demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling of a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. The program will carry the designation KQ-X.

The plan calls for Northrop Grumman to retrofit two of the high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAVs, one aircraft pumping fuel into the other in flight through a hose-and-drogue aerial refueling system The aerial refueling engagement will be completely autonomous.
"Demonstrating the refueling of one UAV by another is a historic milestone," said Carl Johnson, vice president, Advanced Concepts for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "It adds aerial refueling to the list of capabilities that can be accomplished autonomously by Global Hawks; it opens the door to greatly expanded operational utility for UAVs; and, as a side benefit, it promises to increase the safety and reliability of aerial refueling between manned aircraft by reducing pilot workload."
Northrop Grumman will fly the Global Hawks from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Iran Develops Humanoid Robot

July 4, 2010

Iran has developed a new humanoid robot that, according to a government newspaper report, has been designed for use in "sensitive jobs," though the report does not elaborate on the robot's capabilities.

Named Surena-2, after an ancient Persian warrior, the second generation robot was unveiled by Irania President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The humanoid reportedly stands 1.45 metres (4.7 feet) tall and weighs 45 kilograms (99 pounds). 

(Photo credit: AFP)