Tag Archives: U.S. Government

U.S. Pumps $400 million to fund next-gen wireless research 

The U.S. National Science Foundation will spend more than US$400 million over the next seven years to fund next-generation wireless research in an effort to bring super-fast mobile service to the country.

U.S. officials hope the investments, announced Friday, will speed up the county’s move to next-generation 5G mobile service, potentially offering speeds of 10Gbps, and allow for a rapid expansion of the internet of things. 

The next-generation mobile services will enable self-driving cars, an “always on” IoT, smart cities, new virtual reality offerings, and video to aid police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders, said John Holdren assistant to President Barack Obama for science and technology.

“Time and again, history has shown us that when we make sustained federal investments in fundamental academic research and in public-private partnerships … we as a nation reap the benefits,” Holdren said at an NSF event in Washinton, D.C., Friday.

The NSF funding, part of a new White House Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, includes $50 million as part of a partnership with more than 20 mobile companies and trade groups to roll out advanced wireless testing sites in four U.S. cities. The testing will include deployment of small cells to boost signals of high-band, millimeter wave spectrum.

Friday’s announcement piggybacks on a Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to open up nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to 5G and IoT services.

The NSF expects to spend $350 million over the next seven years on fundamental research and testing of next-generation wireless technologies, the agency said.

The FCC and other agencies want to focus on making spectrum available so that wireless companies can experiment with the best ways to deliver new services, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Some countries have pushed to set 5G standards before moving forward, but not the U.S., he said.

To read more and the original story follow this link to Network World. 

Advertisements

Boeing’s laser hunts for drones

image
Boeing's compact laser weapons system disables a moving, untethered unmanned aerial vehicle in a test on August 3, 2015. Credit: Boeing

Boeing’s portable drone-destroying laser system is one step closer to the battlefield after a recent test.

Earlier this month in California, Boeing’s second-generation, compact-laser weapons system disabled a moving, untethered drone. That’s important because enemies can easily acquire commercially available drones — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — and use them to deliver explosives or perform reconnaissance. 

Using a laser of up to two kilowatts, the weapons system can focus on a target located at a tactical distance up to many hundreds of meters away, according to a Boeing video of the technology. 

It took only a few seconds for the drone to ignite and crash. The laser is typically aimed at the tail of the drone because, once that section of the drone is disabled, it becomes impossible to control the drone, according to Dave DeYoung, director of laser and electro-optical systems at Boeing.

image
Boeing's two-kilowatt compact laser weapons system is fired at a target in a lab causing it to almost instantly ignite in a test on August 26, 2015.

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to fire a missile, which may range in cost from $30,000 to $3 million, at a drone that may cost a few thousand dollars, he said in an interview.

It costs “a couple of dollars” for each firing of the new laser weapons system, he said. 

“It’s not an either-or situation,” he said. “There will be instances when missiles make sense.”

One of the drawbacks of using lasers, DeYoung said, is that light, unlike a missile, keeps going. The Boeing weapon uses a safeguard to make sure there is a clear line of sight both to and beyond the target. 

For more information and the original story plus more images and a video follow this link to Computerworld.

DARPA has created a self-guided bullet

image
An depiction of the EXACTO .50 caliber bullet (Source: DARPA)

The U.S. government says it has developed the first ever self-guided bullets that can lock onto a target more than a mile away and maneuver midflight in order to hit its mark.

The .50 caliber target tracking bullets, dubbed Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO), are designed for military snipers, who must deal with changes in wind, light and ambient heat as they fire on a target.

The EXACTO technology is being developed by Teledyne Scientific and Imaging with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which researches new military technologies and is known as a key developer of the Internet.

The EXACTO round and optical sighting technology is expected to greatly extend day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems, DARPA said in a statement on its website. The system combines the maneuverable bullet with a real-time laser-guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target.

The EXACTO rounds, which are accurate up to 1.2 miles, are guided to laser-marked targets and should help snipers work farther away from intended marks, and therefore avoid detection after firing, DARPA stated.

While DARPA claims EXACTO is the first self-guided bullet, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) announced in 2012 that it had successfully fired a prototype self-guided bullet.

SNL’s dart-like, self-guided bullet is four inches long and also uses an optical sensor in its nose to detect a laser guidance system that must remain on target for the bullet to track.

For more information and a video demonstration follow the source link below.

Source: Computerworld