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Unveiling Of Robot Dogs with Guns On Their Backs

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A four-legged robot with a weapon attached to it fascinated the guests of the U.S. Army trade show.

Ghost Robotics is a Philadelphia-based start-up company that builds robots for enterprise and military applications. The firm teamed up with SWORD International to create a robot dog armed with a sniper rifle. The product debuted as the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR). It’s a system that adds a 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle from SWORD to one of Ghost Robotics’ quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles or Q-UGVs. The Association of the U.S. Army featured the SPUR during a trade show last October 11-13, 2021.

Ghost Robotics builds partnerships with companies to develop cutting-edge solutions for defense, homeland security, and enterprise clients. The Q-UGV is the first example of unmanned systems armed with an actual weapon. This type of robot is now being tested by the 325th Security Forces Squadron of the U.S. Air Force in Tyndall Air Base, Florida. Tyndall is one of the first Air Force bases to try the robots dots into their patrolling operations.

Features of the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR)

Initial reports say that the exact features of Ghost’s robot dogs are not yet available. Allegedly, a product card about the robot dogs surfaced during the AUSA trade show. The precise structure of the 6.5mm gun inside the SPUR unit – ammunition and reloading capacities – appears to be vague during the unveiling of the featured product. The weapon is more similar to the Armalite AR-10 or Knights Armament Company’s SR-25. The gun used in SPUR appears to have a sound suppressor attached to the front end. This feature could make it quite difficult for enemies to identify where the shooting originated.

The 6.55mm Creedmoor is not commonly used by security forces, either in the United States or in other countries. However, it can increase overall performance, with testing done by the U.S. Special Operations Command. Testing has shown that this weapon offers an expanded range that is advantageous in special operations.

The War Zone online newsletter later gathered additional information from Ghost Robotics (G.R.). When the robots move around as the operator shoves them, their movement is calculated at 2,000 per second per leg. GR CEO Jiren Parikh said that the system ensures that it will continue to function even if the sensors fail. 

Lab Testing

During the lab testing process, they tried to turn off the sensors while the robot was moving. CEO Parikh added that the robot could not see; it simply relied on the sensors. They did that because if anybody was using the robot, it had to operate 99.99% of the time.

The SPUR unit seems to have its targeting system on top. In the previous dry-run at the U.S. Air Force using Q-UGVs without guns, the operator used the Android Team Awareness Kit or ATAK. It is an app that anyone can install on a tablet-like device to interact with robots. It appears that ATAK can aid a human to aim at targets with the robot’s 6.5mm rifle. The Air Force relayed to the company about operating four-legged ground vehicles remotely from command centers via a virtual reality headset. 

Image: The War Zone

Recent Developments and Marketability Potential

Ghost Robotics robot dogs can collect large amounts of data at strategic locations within Tyndall Air Force Base – U.S. Air Force Major Jordan Criss. 

Ghost Robotics is planning to release the first batch of their version of robot dogs before the end of 2021. Will the agreement of the U.S. Air Force in the testing process kick off the opening of broader market potential for SPUR? 

Neither Ghost Robotics nor SWORD confirms the capabilities of robot dogs being completely autonomous. SPUR, however, has the potential to achieve a certain degree of autonomy in the future. With the help of artificial intelligence, the robot can detect threats even without an operator who gives the go-signal to start shooting. Computerized sighting systems for small rifles with these kinds of capabilities are available now. 

Nevertheless, adding a weapon to Q-UGV is possible. The SPUR could be a valuable system because these robot dogs can reach extended ranges when dealing with targets. U.S. Air Force Major Jordan Criss said these robot dogs would help them calculate large amounts of data at strategic locations throughout Tyndall Air Force Base. The robots will allow flexibility in the positioning and response of their personnel, Major Criss added.

At the same time, attaching guns to quadrupedal systems created different kinds of reactions. Some people considered it unfavorable and dangerous. People fear that a fully-unmanned robotic weapon called “killer robots” can operate without human intervention. Experts say that automatic weapons are not capable of differentiating civilians and enemies. Thus, it violates international human rights. The said criticisms should be taken into account by Ghost Robotics while working on the lab for a market-ready SPUR.

SPUR Updates: From Fully-Autonomous to Semi-Autonomous

Ghost Robotics is relatively new in building quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles (Q-UGV). They have been in the industry for only five years. It is a fact that functional and scalable technology is not easy to develop. But, the company aims to create an excellent platform to deliver safe and valuable solutions to their customers. Likewise, their growing partnership with other companies, the security forces, technology innovators, and even universities will possibly scale up the robotics technology. 

In a follow-up statement about SPUR, Ghost Robotics clarified that it did not provide the product card regarding the system’s functionalities during the Association of U.S. Army exhibit in October. Ghost Robotics emphasized that in the present design regarding the integration of a weapon, SPUR is entirely operator-controlled. It does not have the full autonomy to move on its own without human intervention. 

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Business

The Shift Towards Banking-As-A-Service

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The changing times and the pandemic have created a significant shift in how we bank. In addition, our expectations from banks have also differed through the years. The digitalization of the financial services industry has furthered the plan to get free access to banking data. This is in connection with the Open Banking initiative and the dramatic rise of fintech companies and neo-banks.

The market space that the traditional banks once dominated has now given new players the opportunities to compete alongside them. Indeed, the commoditization of bank services has inevitably begun.

A void to connect banks and these new players has been filled in the form of banking-as-as-service (or BaaS for short) providers. It’s only logical that a service such as this emerges. It’s the order next in line to streamline the customer experience and provide products that are built to engage the modern world. 

What exactly is banking-as-as-service?

The easiest way to explain what banking-as-as-service is is through a few examples, these are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Lending systems
  • Credit card payments

The digital world is changing the relationships of brands and businesses with their customers. It is rapidly shifting and improving that even non-bank companies have already integrated financial services to their customers. Established companies such as Walmart, Apple, Uber, or Amazon have already been doing this to add value to their products and services.

Why businesses should take the banking-as-as-service opportunity

To those in the know, banking technology is a complex matter. Developing it from the ground up can be laborious and expensive. Add to that the challenge of getting a bank license which turns off those trying to get in that niche. What banking-as-as-service does is to connect businesses with banks that take care of the requirements and provide the technology they need to provide financial services through a slew of digital channels.

This process will make banking services more engaging and less transactional. Businesses can now integrate services throughout the buying journey without redirecting them to a different platform. This means customers will no longer do the rigamarole of going from one channel to another. They will get what they need when and where they need it.

And statistics show that it is working. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services are steadily climbing at a rate of 39% per year for approximately 10 million Britons making their online purchases. 

What now for traditional banks?

Since traditional banks have little appetite for risks, they weren’t built to handle the demands for embedded finance. BaaS companies make it faster and easier for fintechs and other companies to increase their offerings by embedding digital banking services directly into the purchase. Instead of seeing this as competition, traditional banks should collaborate with BaaS to benefit from this embedding.

What can Banking-as-a-service do?

With the help of banking-as-a-service, new players in the finance industry will have the capability of targeting niche communities and coming up with slimmer product sets. Also, the solutions that BaaS offers can give valuable insights to businesses on how they can improve their products or services. They will have the much-needed data to learn about industry trends, saving and spending behaviors, and general engagement with their offerings.

All these means that businesses can have more information on how they can improve the overall customer experience. This also means companies can deliver products and services that are more targeted towards the right customers. The possibilities that banking-as-a-service offers are endless in terms of innovation in the banking and financial services market.

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Playrcart Gives You What You Want – Immediately

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We’ve all watched ads and immediately thought, “I want that. Right now.” Some of us wish we could jump right into the TV and into that sexy Ford F-Series quicker than we can have a second thought. But how many of us have gone to make a purchase only to be discouraged by the needlessly complicated payment process? “Too many,” says UK-based startup Playrcart

We believe this is the future of advertising.” 

Founder Glen Dormieux, along with CTO, Richard Mason, created Playrcart born of that very frustration.

What we’re seeing right now is fairly traditional – they’re doing the same thing time and time again.

Currently, when viewing an ad, you have to go through several pages in order to complete a purchase. How many sales are lost in that time-consuming process? “Too many!” say business owners in a Mr. Krabs-esque demeanor. 

How Does Playrcart Work?

Playrcart has designed its platform to convert digital assets into instant transactions within the ad itself. How is that possible? Technology, stupid. 

You can actually make the transaction go directly within the asset itself. So you engage with the ads, you interact with the purchase within the ad without ever leaving that same piece of content.

It effectively dilutes numerous clicks that you normally have to navigate through. The average of reduction clicks is about 75 percent.

With Playrcart, you can watch the trailer for a new Spider-man movie and buy tickets before it’s even completed. You can schedule a test drive in the Ford F-Series as you’re watching a professional drive it on a closed course. 

Consumers will now have the option to purchase something when their emotional response to an ad is at its peak. You can see an ad for a major event and as you’re riding that emotional wave you click and purchase tickets. As the ad concludes, you can emotionally conclude with it – satisfied. 

You can see Playrcart’s technology in action here

Playrcart is capitalizing on our instant gratification society, and they’re doing it with modesty and innovative advances in technology. 

We want to hit them instantly while you’ve got their attention.

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Technology

Slingshot Aerospace Launches Communication Tool After Acquiring Stellatus Solutions

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On Aug 18, 2021, Slingshot Aerospace acquired Stellatus Solutions. Initially, Stellatus was a project by the Department of Defense (DOD) Hacking for Defense Program. When they learned the problems faced by satellite operators were true, Holly Highfill and Kishen Ragunath eventually founded Stellatus. But months after its establishment as a company, the acquisition helped Slingshot Aerospace build their new tool: The Slingshot Beacon.

Let’s learn more about the acquisition and what it means for Slingshot Aerospace and the space industry.

The Stellatus Solutions- Slingshot Aerospace Acquisition: A Background

Before Stellatus Solution became part of Slingshot Solutions, Stellatus was a project by University of Chicago students to make communication easier between operators. This project aims to minimize the number of collisions among the 400 satellites in orbit. The number will be 200x more by 2030, with an expected number of 115,000 satellites in space.

At first, the students believed it was a theoretical project. But when they learned that satellite operators had communication issues, this motivated them to create the startup. It didn’t take them a year to get acquired by Slingshot. After all, their tech would be critical for one of their Slingshot Aerospace’s products, the Slingshot Beacon, announced by the startup in Aug 2021 as well.

The launch of the Slingshot Beacon was possible with the data and intellectual property Slingshot obtained from Stellatus. Holly Highfill and Kishen Raghunath, co-founders of Stellatus, are onboard Slingshot Aerospace. Highfill will have the position of Director of Customer Engagement and Strategy, while Raghunath will be Director of Finance and Strategy.

What is Slingshot Aerospace?

Founders Melanie Stricklan and Thomas Ashman know that space-related ventures have boomed over the past few years. Plus, they’re also Air Force vets, so they have more intelligence on the matter, especially satellites.

Not only that, there are communication issues in space. And it’s a problem. For one, it can be difficult to obtain data due to conflict. Plus, satellite operators may face challenges in analyzing data. Moreover, with high competition, the operators can’t get real-time and comprehensive information due to the number of satellites above. And it’s crucial they have relevant and complete information to determine the location of a satellite. Hence, satellites won’t crash.

To solve this problem, they collaborated with David Godwin. He’s a satellite architect, and with his knowledge of satellites, the trio can respond to the current communication problems faced by operators.

What does the acquisition mean for them?

The Slingshot Beacon, the product released in Aug 2021, is their new communications platform. The cutting-edge tech will help detect collisions and provide centralized communication and coordination. Plus, operators will know about maneuvers and other satellite-related functions.

Slingshot Aerospace has also collaborated with Numerica Corporation to help them with data and analytics.

The company got inspiration from the guard channels, which is a frequency monitoring only maydays and calls for help. With this in mind, they can aid organizations in monitoring their space objects and orbits. In addition, it has a few functions:

  • Operator contact info
  • Environmental anomalies reports
  • Alerts for planned maneuvers
  • Ephemeris sharing
  • Conjunction data messages

OneWeb, Orbit Fab, Spire Global Inc., and other companies will have the privilege to try their tool first. With the Slingshot Beacon, operators can communicate in one platform, which will allow them to access data easily. Based on the press release published by the startup, it ensures safety and transparency. Not only that, but it will prevent possible collisions.

Moreover, their tool ensures that data is digestible, accelerating decision-making and helping the public and governments build confidence.

Orbit Fab, in particular, has expressed its excitement over the use of Slingshot Beacon. They’re the Gas Stations in Space, and the tool will help streamline communication for them.

Features of the Slingshot Beacon launched Q3 2021:

  • File sharing
  • Live and historic data processing
  • Collaboration (internal and external)
  • Workflows with automation tools for risk screening
  • Third-party plugins and integration
  • Data capture and upload and download of customer ephemeris
  • Easy onboard
  • End to end security
  • Built-in compliance
  • AWS cloud services

For more news, read more stories here at Owner’s Mag!

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