| |

KEF Robotics Awarded $1.5M for Tethered UAS Development

KEFRobotics TE UAS400x275

August 23, 2022

KEF Robotics, which develops visual autonomy systems for aircraft, has announced it was awarded a 12-month, $1.5 million Phase 2 SBIR award from the Army Applications Lab. The contract will fund KEF to develop advanced computer vision algorithms to fly tethered autonomous drones through an urban environment in day or night conditions. The company said the award will speed its ambition to provide vision-based autonomous flight to any aircraft, even in GPS-denied environments.

Tethered drones are aerial platforms that are connected to the ground via a power and data cable. Receiving power from the ground lets the drone stay aloft nearly indefinitely without recharging, providing a local, continuous overwatch capability to ground assets, KEF said.

Traditionally, these platforms have been used to provide security for stationary assets. In the Phase 2 project, KEF said it will study the use of tethered drones attached to highly mobile ground platforms by leveraging infrared and electro-optical sensors, machine learning algorithms, and powerful computation to build a dense and long-range map of its surroundings. This real-time map generation, paired with KEF’s planning and navigation modules, will allow the drone to autonomously avoid obstacles while moving in an urban environment at high speeds.

“Our platform-agnostic, attachable approach to aerial autonomy positions us well to provide safe tethered flight in dynamic and complex environments,” said Eric Amoroso, principal investigator and co-founder of KEF Robotics. “The tethered system allows us to couple the visual sensing on the ground vehicle and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). This coupling allows us to leverage both machine learning and stereo vision techniquest to detect and map difficult hazards like power lines and tree branches.”

KEF said the Phase 2 award represents its largest single Department of Defense contract to  date, and complements its ongoing support of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), SOCOM, Air Force and commercial partners.

Founded in 2018, KEF Robotics is based in Pittsburgh. For more details on the company, visit its website here.

Robotics World News

  • Seed Group and Ryberg Partner to Bring AI-Assisted Disinfection Technology to the Middle East

    Seed Group and Ryberg Partner to Bring AI-Assisted Disinfection Technology to the Middle East

    Netherlands-based Ryberg combines the latest in computer vision, robotics, and infection prevention-technologies to deliver intelligence and efficiency in disinfection. Ryberg has developed Disinfection Robots, which are self-driving disinfection machines. Ryberg’s patented Disinfection Engine makes intelligent disinfection decisions, allowing the robots to disinfect spaces for up to 6 hours—to bring a layer of defense in the… Read More…

  • Wind River and Airbus Collaborate on Certification of Automatic Air-to-Air Refueling (A3R)

    Wind River and Airbus Collaborate on Certification of Automatic Air-to-Air Refueling (A3R)

    Wind River, a global leader in delivering software for mission-critical intelligent systems, announced it has worked with Airbus to support the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for automatic air-to-air refueling (A3R). The MRTT aircraft is the world’s first tanker to be certified for automatic air-to-air refueling boom operations in daylight. Airbus uses VxWorks 653 for the A330 MRTT… Read More…

Products for Robots & Cobots

  • Jabil, OSRAM, Artilux Develop Next-Generation 3D Camera Prototype

    Jabil, OSRAM, Artilux Develop Next-Generation 3D Camera Prototype

    Manufacturing solutions provider Jabil has announced that its optical design center in Jena, Germany, is currently demonstrating a prototype of a next-generation 3D camera with the ability to operate in both indoor and outdoor environments up to a range of 20 meters. The prototype was the result of a combination of proprietary technologies from Jabil,… Read More…

  • Product Profile: IDS CMOS Sensor IMX273

    Product Profile: IDS CMOS Sensor IMX273

    What is it? IDS cameras can be found in automotive, packaging, printing, and robotics industries, as well as in medical technology, traffic monitoring, security, kiosk systems, and logistics contexts.  The global shutter CMOS sensor IMX273 in the Sony Pregius series offers high image quality, high sensitivity and wide dynamic range. With a resolution of 1.58… Read More…