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Former Director of Technology and Innovation for John Deere, has joined Near Earth Autonomy as Senior Director of Market Strategy. With extensive experience developing and commercializing automation and robotics solutions, Foessel will lead business and product strategy as Near Earth expands its technology across new industries and applications.

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Near Earth is collaborating with Kaman on the autonomy upgrade in a project funded by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). This sophisticated decision-making capability represents a significant step up from the autonomy package in the first generation of unmanned K-Max helicopters.

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NASA awarded Pittsburgh-based Near Earth Autonomy a contract to develop drone systems for industrial infrastructure inspection, according to a news release. 

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Active-duty Army soldiers and Marines used Near Earth’s technology to safely execute resupply test missions in an operational demonstration last summer. The technology enables obstacle avoidance for safe flight and landing for reliable cargo delivery in dynamic environments. 

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Without GPS, drone navigation drifts, making it difficult to register data and, eventually, causes instability. With NASA’s help, Near Earth Autonomy is breaking drones’ dependency on GPS. In 2015, NASA emerged to take a leading role in the advancement of safe autonomous flight by establishing its UAS Traffic Management (UTM) project. That same year, NASA granted Phase I and II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts to Near Earth Autonomy to build technology for navigation without GPS or maps. Near Earth Autonomy’s SBIR work focused on safely navigating the most difficult parts of a flight with no GPS whatsoever.

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Sanjiv Singh speaks to eVTOL about Near Earth's participation in recent developments for a NASA research project. He explains the necessity of giving aircraft high levels of intelligence so that they can automatically respond to events during a flight as would a pilot in a conventional aircraft.

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Industry thought leaders gathered in Texas to discuss the public's adoption of air taxis. Near Earth Autonomy proudly explained urban air safety technology, alongside innovators such as Uber's Product Lead, Tesla's CTO, and George Bush at this invitation-only conference of 200 attendees.

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NASA and the FAA recently completed the final phase of a 5-year research project aimed at developing an air traffic control system for drones. The demonstrations were a critical collaboration between technical and regulatory stakeholders to prove they could manage commercial drones in an urban environment. 

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​CEO of Near Earth Autonomy talks to Ken Dunlap from Catalyst-Go on the Podcast ThinkingThroughAutonomy, a podcast to help you understand the promise and reliability of air vehicles in our world. Discussions include spinning a technology firm out of a university, lessons from landing autonomous helicopters, and the regulation hurdles Near Earth faces.

MILITARY.COM: Marines Get Resupply from Unmanned Helo During Exercise

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"In a first, Marines participating in an integrated training exercise at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, California, got supplies delivered via an autonomous UH-1 Huey in an experiment that offered a glimpse into the future of logistics operations."

FUTURISM: Boeing’s New Prototype Cargo Drone Can Carry up to 500 Pounds

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"Boeing debuted a new prototype drone that's capable of carrying payloads weighing up to 500 pounds. While such a drone could be mass produced for deliveries, Boeing will instead use the prototype to improve autonomous technology for future products."

TRIB LIVE: Pittsburgh company promises self-piloted flying taxis, drone-delivered groceries

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"I cannot tell you how soon drones will be delivering groceries or how soon they will be inspecting bridges at the touch of a button. I cannot tell you when you'll be able to fly from one side of Pittsburgh to the other in a self-piloted taxi. But if that is what you are here for, I can tell you: you are in the right place."

TECH CRUNCH: Boeing Invests in Company Building Autonomous Aircraft

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Boeing’s HorizonX venture arm has invested in Near Earth Autonomy, a Carnegie Mellon spin-out company that focuses on building autonomous aircraft systems for things including site inspection, defence and potentially automated cargo delivery and personal transportation systems – i.e., flying taxis.

BLOOMBERG: Boeing Invests in Drone Startup in Push for Automated Technology

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Boeing Co. is investing in Pittsburgh-based Near Earth Autonomy, a self-guided drone startup, marking its first financial backing for a company specializing in autonomous technology since establishing the HorizonX venture fund in April.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Jet-Makers are Preparing for a World with On-Demand, Pilotless Air Taxis

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Years after Detroit’s auto companies joined the race to develop self-driving cars, the world’s biggest plane-makers now say they see a coming revolution in autonomous, on-demand flight. Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer Boeing has been stepping up its investment in the technologies that enable autonomous flight in recent months.

TRIB LIVE: Pittsburgh company to land self-flying cars

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"Airbus, which is working to develop autonomous flying cars in Silicon Valley, is teaming with a Pittsburgh company to ensure that the aircraft will be able to land safely."

PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE: Forget self-driving cars. A CMU spinoff is helping to make self-piloted, flying taxis.

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"Sure, you can hail a self-driving Uber with the tap of a button, but in the not-so-distant future, you could be hailing an electric, self-piloted air taxi in much the same way."

WIRED: Airbus Uses Lasers to Teach its Flying Car to Land

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BEFORE YOU CAN zip about in a flying car, engineers must solve more than a few problems. Oddly, figuring out how to make a flying car fly isn't among them. The basics of flight were sorted out more than 100 years ago. No, the big challenge lies in making these things fly themselves so you don't have to go through the hassle of earning a pilot's license. Here, too, taking flight isn't the big problem. Landing is.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: Forget Flying Cars: Passenger Drones May Be Hovering Soon at a Location Near You

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The dream of the flying car could come down to earth before it gets off the ground. Rising in its place: a network of self-flying drones big enough to ferry individual commuters around town.

USA TODAY: The next big thing: Drones supplying U.S. troops

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"BEALETON, Va. — Standing next to a grass airstrip in this town southwest of Washington, D.C., a defense contractor keys a supply request into a small tablet computer and hits send."

UNMANNED SYSTEMS: Sense and Avoid. Advances in Technology for UAS Bring NAS Integration Nearer

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"Progress in development of sense and avoid technologies for

unmanned aerial vehicles is bringing them closer to integration

into the National Airspace System."

TRIB LIVE: Drone use took off in 2016, and it's expected to only get better

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"Drones became metal detectors in the sky, put to use by mining and oil and gas companies."

PHYS.ORG: Carnegie Mellon and Near Earth Autonomy robots and drones put on a show at Clemson

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A rumbling robot and several high-flying drones recently made an on-site appearance at Clemson University to burrow through and buzz above 15 acres of experimental sorghum plots containing more than 2,800 replicated entries.

AVIATION WEEK: Sensing Safety. Lidar Shows Potential in Autonomous Flight, Landing and Navigation Without GPS

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"Reliably detecting hazardous wires, evaluating terrain for safe landings and operating without GPS are the latest challenges to be tackled "

COMMERCIAL UAV NEWS: Exploring the Technology that Will Ensure Safe Operation Through All Phases of a Drone Flight

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"The development of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system is something I’ve been covering recently, as it’s a topic which could inherently change"

TRIB LIVE: White House clears small, commercial drones for takeoff

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"Those involved in the burgeoning drone industry hailed the federal government's easing Tuesday of rules that had clipped their wings but said they need"

TRIB LIVE: FAA advisor in Pittsburgh says agency might limit max speed, altitude of drones

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"Information poured into an unmanned helicopter's sensors as it approached a designated landing zone, only to find the area unsuitable for touchdown."

NEXT PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh as a powerhouse in robotics, now and in the future

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"More than 15 years ago, The Wall Street Journal dubbed Pittsburgh as “Roboburgh,” a tribute to the rapid growth in robotics research and development"

CMU MAGAZINE: Flight of the UAV

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"...imagine an automated aerial vehicle that can survey an area, plan a safe flight path, and land without any assistance from a human operator"

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FINANCIAL TIMES: US Marines pilot app to offer drone deliveries for combat troops

May 26, 2014

"One of America’s most feared fighting units is stepping up its efforts to resupply troops in the field using nothing bigger than an iPad mini..."

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Navy Drones With a Mind of Their Own

April 05, 2014

"The U.S. Navy has unveiled new drone technology that allows the craft to take off and plot its routes autonomously, without a ground-based pilot."

WIRED: Drone deliveries: beyond the publicity stunt

April 06, 2014

"It's the delivery service you've always wanted: just place an order using your tablet, then sit back as the system dispatches a delivery drone, plots its flight..."

IEEE SPECTRUM: Robocopters to the Rescue. The next medevac helicopter won’t need a pilot.

September 01, 2013

"We’re standing on the edge of the hot.  Arizona tarmac, radio in hand, holding our breath as the helicopter passes 50 meters overhead..."

WIRED: In a First, Full-Sized Robo-Copter Flies With No Human Help

June 14, 2010

"In mid-June, a single-turbine helicopter took off from a test field in Mesa, Arizona, avoided obstacles during flight, scoped out a landing site and landed safely..."

NEW SCIENTIST: Robot helicopter takes flight navigation to a new low

November 01, 2008

"Flying low to the ground is a pilot's nightmare: buildings, trees, and power cables all threaten to put an early end to the flight. But now the first large..."

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