Seen & Heard: Defending Ukraine, Olympic prep

May 14, 2022  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.

Image: Stadium, OnePlan/Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Image: Stadium, OnePlan/Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games


In an Olympic first, the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in Paris will receive a digital twin for planning and collaboration. OnePlan’s GIS Mapping and Venue Twin software will be used to create a 3D map of each sports venue and surrounding areas to help event planners, partners and suppliers collaborate in real time. They will be able to see spaces and capacities at any angle, in any light, in any weather condition at any time. Infrastructure such as barriers, fencing, vehicles, teams, volunteers and broadcast cameras can be positioned in the twin. Organizers can plan for any scenario, improving efficiency and safety, as well as take the needs of the disabled into account.




A fleet of 30 “Robotaxis” – Level 4 autonomous cars – will hit the streets in Shenzhen, China, to showcase an autonomous solution by The Robotaxis – SAIC Motor SUVs outfitted with’s Driver 2.0 – preview plans for mass production of autonomous vehicles in 2024, including for purchase by consumers. Autonomous cars are classified in five levels, with Level 5 the highest. A human driver can take over a Level 4 vehicle. Level 4 consumer vehicles on the road also gather data that is used to further improve Level 4 autonomous driving.

Switchblade 600. (Photo: AeroVironment)

Switchblade 600. (Photo: AeroVironment)


The United States has committed more than $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including on April 21 more than 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems. The drones were rapidly developed by the Air Force specifically to meet Ukraine’s requirements. The Ghost drones are manufactured by Aevex Aerospace and have similar capabilities to the single-use “kamikaze” Switchblade UAS from AeroVironment, which also are being provided to Ukraine forces. The Switchblade 600 shown here is designed to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles. It weighs slightly more than 120 pounds and has a range of more than 40 miles.

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/USGS


NASA’s Ingenuity UAV has now spent more than a year on the surface of Mars, with 21 flights under its belt. It is now scouting potential routes for its companion, the Perseverence rover. Most recently, Ingenuity traveled to the Séítah region to examine an extinct river delta, covering 1,150 feet and navigating around a large hill, to help determine the best route into the delta. The NASA team continues to gently push the drone’s capabilities to better understand improvements that can be applied to future Mars UAV designs.

This is posted in From the Magazine

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.