As the main event for all things ‘unmanned’ AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014, held in May in Orlando, FL, did not disappoint as companies showed off their high-tech drones and gadgets including Parrot’s dancing Bebob quadcopter, iRobot’s walking video conference room, a.k.a. Ava, and Naval Surface Warfare Center’s bomb fighting Increment 1.
Many big names were in attendance including Northrop Grumman, maker of the Global Hawk and SandShark unmanned air vehicles (UAVs ) and Lockheed Martin, maker of the Squad Mission Support System ground robot. Bluefin Robotics also was at the show. Bluefin has made headlines lately for their Bluefin-21, an underwater drone used in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
While it’s expected for the big boys in the industry to attend, it was nice to see some local, small business presence, too.
UAV Solutions from MD had a booth at the show and is a familiar name in the unmanned industry. The MD company designs and manufactures several unmanned aerial vehicles as well as ancillary ground support systems.
Torc Robotics, a VA based organization, unveiled their Robotic Assault Zone Terminal Evaluation Kit (RAZTEK) at AUVSI 2014. The commercial ATV based system is designed to assess potential landing strips for their stability and uses Torc’s self-driving technology to control the vehicle.
WDL Systems also had a booth. Located in Pittsboro, NC WDL is an Embedded Products source, distributing a full-line of Embedded Single Board Computers. Looks like the next time to see these guys will be in Illnois this month at the Sensor Expo. Good luck guys!
Our friend Kyle Snyder, the head of the Next Generation Air Transportation Center at North Carolina State University, was also in town to make a presentation and stopped by our booth to say hello (see pic of Kyle with ACDi’s Tim Yauch). Kyle is a long-time supporter of the unmanned industry and is an advocate for bringing NC lawmakers and NC industry together to benefit the state. (BTW, check out this video link of Kyle’s interview from earlier this year and hear his perspective)
There was also no shortage of electronics manufacturing services firms, large and small, at the show this year. In fact, there was a markedly increased presence of folks in our space both exhibiting and walking at AUVSI 2014, making for an interesting marketing “note to self”.
Well, we’ll be back at AUVSI 2015 in Atlanta, GA, and are looking forward to seeing the new industry and product developments that the show brings. And while I’m sure it will be a success, Atlanta will not have one thing – Universal Studios. (Well done, Northrop, on a very creative and entertaining “The Mix” event this year. That will be hard to beat!)