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Underwater Drone Technology

Finding ways to overcome physical limitations so that humans can dive deeper and stay underwater longer has been an ongoing quest. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci drew sketches of a submarine and a robot. Had he thought to combine the two concepts, he would have created a prototype of an unmanned underwater vehicle, or underwater drone. Instead, the world had to wait another five hundred years.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power, Robotics, Sensors, Instrumentation, Transportation
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Eyes In the Sky

Drones (i.e. quadrotors) are a popular and increasingly widespread product used by consumers as well as in a diversity of industrial, military and other applications. Historically under the control of human operators on the ground, they’re becoming increasingly autonomous as the cameras built into them find use not only for capturing footage of the world around them but also in understanding and responding to their surroundings. Combining imaging with other sensing modalities can further bolster the robustness of this autonomy.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Imaging, Automation, Robotics, Sensors, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Hydraulic Cylinder Position Sensor Technology

As the demand for greater control and functionality increases, position-sensor-instrumented hydraulic cylinders are becoming more important in the heavy industry, mobile equipment, and subsea worlds. Position sensors for feedback in hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders have typically used one of three technologies: Linear Variable Inductance Transducers (LVITs), variable resistance potentiometers (Pots), or magnetostrictive transducers (MLDTs). While other sensor technologies have occasionally been used in these applications, the focus of this article is a comparison among these three popular technologies. Ultimately, a user or systems integrator must determine the exact requirements of the application and which technology best satisfies them on a total installed cost versus performance basis. The strengths and weaknesses of linear variable inductance, variable resistance pots, and magnetostrictive sensors are all examined below, together with a feature-by-feature comparison chart.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Mechanical Components, Positioning Equipment, Power, Power Transmission, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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The CAN Bus: Driving the Future of Autonomous Military Vehicles

It’s a crisp November day in Michigan, and a convoy of British and American resupply vehicles are rumbling along at a comfortable 25 miles per hour. In the lead is a British Army Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) HX-60 truck, trailed closely by two U.S. Army Oshkosh Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTVs). In total, there are zero humans operating this convoy.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Automotive, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Defense, Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Automotive, Transportation
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Autonomous “Wingman” Vehicles

The US Army’s Futures Command is the most important administrative reorganization of the modern Army. Responding to the world’s changing priorities— especially the “near peer” threat of ascendant Russia and China—the Army is no longer modernizing, but re-inventing its ground vehicle fleet against new realities. Just like the U.S. Air Force stopped inventing better jets and pilot aids and moved to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for “dull, dirty and dangerous” missions, the Army envisions multiple autonomous vehicle concepts. Instead of a heavier Abrams main battle tank, or a replacement to the aging M113 APC, autonomous “wingman” vehicles may replace some of the human-heavy tasks on the future battlefield.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Wireless, Defense, Imaging, Video, Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Transportation
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How FMC Developments Support Legacy and Next-Gen Data Needs

While FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, it continues to provide a variety of benefits to the embedded system developer. These include sustained implementation and deployment in new technologies. Additionally, the release of FMC+ provides improved design capabilities. However, with data rates always on the rise and shrinking form factors, the question arises: Why does FMC continue to be so popular and what has sustained it over the years?

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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An Integrated Framework for Complex Radar System Design

Modern radar systems are complex and depend heavily on advanced signal processing algorithms to improve their detection performance. At the same time, the radio front-end must meet challenging specifications with a combination of available components, implementation technologies, regulatory constraints, requirements from the system, and signal processing. This application example shows how NI's Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) system simulation software enables radar system architects and RF component manufacturers to design, validate, and prototype a radar system.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Mechanical Components, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Thermoplastic Composites to Play Enhanced Role in Next-Generation Aerospace Applications

Advanced thermoplastic composites-and their emergence as prominent materials for future aerospace applications–are sparking a flurry of activity from aerospace manufacturers, designers, component producers and formatters.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composites, Materials, Plastics, Mechanical Components
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Understanding the “Black Art” of RF and Microwave Switching

Understanding RF, especially microwave switching, can be a challenge. In many cases, test systems have been compromised because a test engineer did not consider all the components of their test system: instruments, switching, cabling, Mass Interconnect (test fixture interface), fixture design, and so on. Each component has its own set of characteristics. With RF and microwave components, effects including insertion loss, VSWR, bandwidth, and so on all need to be considered as well.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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A New Approach to Satellite Communications

In the Heinrich Hertz satellite mission, which will be launched in 2020, the DLR Space Administration (German Aerospace Center) plans to develop and operate a German communications satellite. The chief objective of the mission is the scientific validation and testing of payload technologies in space.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Antennas
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