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Daily Business Report-Dec. 30, 2015

Daily Business Report-Dec. 30, 2015

 Darpa released this artist’s rendering of the tailsitter Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node platform. (Image: Darpa)

Northrop Grumman Tapped to Build

Reconnaissance Drone Demonstrator


The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has chosen Northrop Grumman to develop a prototype medium-sized unmanned aircraft system that would be capable of operating from small naval ships. Darpa awarded the company a $93 million “other transaction agreement” to build the prototype, according to a Dec. 24 contract announcement by the Department of Defense.

On Dec. 28, Darpa released a concept drawing of a tailsitter, flying-wing aircraft with twin counter-rotating nose-mounted propellers. The demonstrator aircraft will bear some resemblance to the Convair XFY-1 Pogo experimental aircraft the U.S. Navy developed in the 1950s but never advanced beyond the prototype stage.

Darpa originally awarded contracts to five companies to conduct conceptual design trade studies under the first phase of its Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program, which is cosponsored by the Office of Naval Research. The agency selected Northrop Grumman and Aerovironment to advance to the design phase in September 2014. However, this past September Aerovironment announced that Darpa had dropped it from consideration for the program’s third phase.

Operating from a destroyer or other naval vessel, the TERN air vehicle would provide long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over greater distances and time frames than currently possible with manned and unmanned helicopters. The TERN Phase III effort will focus on the design and fabrication of a full-scale demonstrator, initially for ground testing. Darpa has said a flight demonstration could take place in 2017. “Through TERN, we seek to develop and demonstrate key capabilities for enabling distributed, disaggregated U.S. naval architectures in the future,” said Bradford Tousley, director of Darpa’s Tactical Technology Office.

During an event that Northrop Grumman hosted for a small group of invited reporters in Palmdale, Calif., in mid-December, the company revealed a model of its TERN concept. The model resembled a flying wing with contra-rotating rotors for lift and forward flight, Breaking Defense reported. Designed to operate from the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship or DDG 51 guided missile destroyers, the vehicle would take off and land vertically, then transition to horizontal flight.


Qualcomm and Haier Sign

Patent License Agreement

City News Service

Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a patent license agreement with Chinese appliance manufacturer the Haier Group and Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment Co. Ltd.

The deals give the San Diego-based supplier of mobile chip technology a positive end to a year otherwise littered with overseas regulatory problems and a poor financial performance.

The agreements will allow Qingdao-based Haier, one of the world’s largest supplier of appliances, to make and sell products with Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G LTE technology.

“Haier values and respects Qualcomm’s intellectual property, which was created as a result of its extensive research and development efforts,” said Cao Teng, general manager of Qingdao Haier Telecom Co. Ltd.

“The licensing agreement with Qualcomm supports our vision by helping us to deliver products embedded with leading 3G and 4G connectivity to provide the same convenient and personalized connected experience that consumers have come to expect from a smartphone.”

Tianyu operates the K-Touch mobile network in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Eric Reifschneider, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Technology Licensing, said the agreements are “an example of our ongoing commitment to support the growth of Chinese companies and the development of wireless networks, devices and applications.”

Terms of the deals were not disclosed, but they come at a critical time for Qualcomm, which is seeking to rebound from declining revenues and profits this year that prompted company-wide layoffs.

The agreements come 10 months after the company agreed to pay $975 million in fines after China’s National Development and Reform Commission ruled that it had violated the Asian country’s anti-monopoly laws.

The new deal is consistent with provisions of the regulatory settlement, according to Qualcomm, which faces other investigations in Europe and Taiwan.

Qualcomm announced Monday a similar agreement with Shenzhen-based QiKu Internet Network Scientific, an Internet start-up.


The Economic Roundtable is set for Jan. 14.

The Economic Roundtable is set for Jan. 14.

San Diego County Economic Roundtable

The 32nd annual San Diego County Economic Roundtable, hosted by the University of San Diego, will be staged on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 8 a.m. to noon in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre on campus.

A panel of experts will discuss what the San Diego economy will look like in 2016 and beyond. The panel also will discuss workforce development, the real estate market, innovation and the craft beer industry.

Panelists are:

Marney Cox, chief economist, SANDAG

Ryan Ratcliff, associate professor of economics, USD School of Business

Tina Ngo Bartel, director of business programs and research, San Diego Workforce Partnership

Navrina Singh, director project management, Qualcomm

Marc M. Martin, vice president of beer, Karl Strauss

Coy Shepard, 2015 president-elect, Greater San Diego Association of Realtors

Registration is required, click here.


 ‘Kelp’ is an outdoor sculpture constructed of painted steel strips with LED lighting. It is one of three new public art installments that are part of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s $200 million redevelopment project. 

‘Kelp’ is an outdoor sculpture constructed of painted steel strips with LED lighting. It is one of three new public art installments that are part of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s $200 million redevelopment project.

Three Tenant ‘Percent for Art’ Projects OK’d for

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

As part of efforts to enhance the waterfront experience through public art, the Board of Port Commissioners has approved artist concept proposals for three art projects to be installed in conjunction with the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s $200 million redevelopment project.

The proposals were approved at the Dec. 8 Board of Port Commissioners meeting and will fulfill the Port of San Diego’s “Tenant Percent for Art” requirement.

The first artwork, titled “Tide,” is an exterior sculpture comprised of a series of LED-illuminated waves created from powder-coated aluminum tubes and ceramic tile pavers. The tubes and pavers are arranged in a serpentine strand of sculptural waves that crest and fall. “Tide” will be installed on Marina Walk outside of the new Marriott Hall.

A second outdoor sculpture, titled “Kelp,’ is constructed of painted steel strips with LED lighting that will line the pathway along Marina Walk. The bent steel elements represent strands of kelp and are covered with steel sheathing and partially powder-coated with a range of bright greens, blues and yellows, reminiscent of sunlit kelp on the ocean floor.

Both “Tide” and “Kelp” are designed by Los Angeles-based artists After Architecture.

The third proposed artwork, titled “Mountainscape,” will be located in the Marriott Grand Ballroom Prefunction area, visible to the public from Harbor Drive via the curtainwall system of the new Marriott Hall currently under construction. Designed by artist Mark Smith with Swarovski, this one-of-a-kind sculptural chandelier embodies the coastline of San Diego. Measuring 55’x32’x6’, the artwork consists of suspended laser-cut stainless steel panels with embedded Swarovski crystals. The crystals encircle a center form of graduated strands of faceted Swarovski crystal beads, creating topographical lines representing an inverted range of hills and the reflection of land in water.

The Marriott refurbished all guest rooms in the 25-story hotel, as well as made renovations to all public spaces including the lobby, pool area, fitness center, and a new restaurant, Marina Kitchen. The project also completely demolished the former Marriott Hall ballroom and a new building is currently under construction to replace it. It will include a 36,000-square-foot ballroom and 36,000-square foot exhibit hall. Additionally, a 600-foot-long public promenade, Marina Walk, will be created as part of the project. Marina Walk will provide direct access to the waterfront from Harbor Drive.

 All three artwork concepts were approved by the Port’s Public Art Committee on Oct. 15, 2015. Installation is anticipated for summer 2016.


Army Marks Transition from Hunter

To General Atomics’ Grey Eagle

The U.S. Army marked the final flight of its first unmanned aircraft system as part of the transition toward a new UAS that will support the service branch’s surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

The Army said Dec. 21 the General Atomics-built Grey Eagle drone will replace the Hunter, which will redeploy from Fort Hood in Texas to government-owned/contractor-operated units overseas.

General Atomics will deliver the Grey Eagle to the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion beginning next year.

According to the Army, the Hunter initially supported training exercises but eventually deployed to warfighting and peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Iraq between 1999 and 2003.

The Grey Eagle’s electro-optical/infrared systems build on the Hunter’s imaging technology to provide real-time situational awareness of battlefield conditions, the Army said.


One in 10 U.S. Homes May Have a Robot by 2020

At least one in 10 homes will have a consumer robot by 2020, according to a new study Juniper Research. That’s up considerably from the current number of 1 home in 25.

Most of the robots will be doing basic chores, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming the floor. More complicated systems may follow in the future, but not until the prices drop.

At this early stage in the market, shipments are expected to be dominated by so-called “task” oriented robots assigned to take over household chores, such as lawn mowing or vacuum cleaning.

Devices such as iRobot’s Roomba and Droplet Robotics’ Sprinkler offer tremendous “fire and forget” type convenience for consumers and, despite obvious design compromises, are likely to usher in a new era of housekeeping.

The performance of more complex robots, such as SoftBank’s Pepper, while improving, are heavily limited by present-day technology. Thus, to meet consumer expectations, smarter, more contextually aware robots are required, according to Juniper Research.

According to Juniper Research:

• Industrial robots, thanks largely to the fact that they are required to perform an action set repeatedly with precision, do not require complex AI (Artificial Intelligence). Furthermore, the business case for these robots was cemented many years ago.

• The consumer segment on the other hand, carries a more complex set of demands and expectations which today’s technology is not in a position to meet. However, Juniper believes that this will develop rapidly and expects considerable improvements in terms of a robot’s abilities to begin to enter the consumer market towards the end of the decade, although at this point prices are expected to remain high.

• It is likely that during the period 2020-2025, complex robots may begin to enter the mainstream, although this will depend on component and development costs falling to make units affordable to the general public.


A new law will prevent drivers in California from wearing earbuds or headsets in both ears while on the road.

A new law will prevent drivers in California from wearing earbuds or headsets in both ears while on the road.

5 New California Laws You Should Know About

Times of San Diego

Jan. 1 will bring an abundance of new laws to California. From the way we work to the way we educate — lawmakers thought of plenty of ways to change how Californians live.

Here are five new laws you should know about.

Get those vaccinations

After a long battle, advocates for mandatory vaccinations saw a victory with the passage of Senate Bill 277. The law requires all California students attending public or private school to get vaccinated. Those seeking to be exempt will need approval from the state Department of Public Health.

More cash needed for your ballot initiative

Are you looking to get your idea on California’s next election ballot? Be prepared to pay more money. Assembly Bill 1100 changes the filing fee from $200 to $2,000. Supporters of the new law hope the increased fee will eliminate frivolous proposals.

The possible end of the High School Exit Exam

There’s hope for students who fail the High School Exit Exam. Senate Bill 172 suspends the exam and removes it as a condition from graduation. The California Superintendent of Public Instruction is also required to convene an advisory panel “to provide recommendations to the superintendent on the continuation of the high school exit examination and on alternative pathways to satisfy specified high school graduation requirements.”

Drive and vote

Anyone looking to get a driver’s license in California will automatically be registered to vote. Assembly Bill 1461 is applied to any qualified residents. Residents will also be registered to vote if they submit a change of address to the DMV or apply for an ID.

No earbuds in the driver’s seat

A new law will prevent drivers in California from wearing earbuds or headsets in both ears while on the road. But Senate Bill 491 does not apply to anyone operating authorized emergency vehicles.


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Voice Your Opinion

We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: