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AUVSI Conference 2012! – Photo Gallery

AUVSI Conference 2012!

The Largest Gathering of Robotics Companies in History

Photos and Story by Tom Atwood, Lucien Miller and Monica England

The 2012 AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference held August 6-9 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center was a mind-blowing mega event that featured over 560 companies and thousands of unmanned systems designed to operate in every imaginable environment—air, ground, maritime, space, and in diverse markets, defense, civil and commercial. The mood was upbeat and festive. Only here could an enthusiast see the most sophisticated, bleeding edge robotics technologies in the world, all under one roof!

As noted by Gretchen West, Executive Vice President of the AUVSI, The AUVSI is now 40 years old, and this was the 39th year of the show. Over 100 technical sessions, panels and workshops were held during the conference, which was attended by well over 8,000. Gretchen noted that as the unmanned systems market has grown from defense to include more and more civil and commercial applications, the show has followed these trends.

            Robot Magazine offered  a sample of the diversity of robots and other unmanned systems exhibited at this grand event in print in our November-December 2012 issue—we hope you enjoy this expanded online gallery and our multimedia coverage, which includes video interviews with robotics leaders!


It's early and the show just opened!
Hood Technology Corp. markets this extraordinary VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle--note the rotor at the top of the fuselage. Hood states that they offer the highest per unit dollar, unit mass, unit power and unit value. Payloads are diverse and range from laser pointers, markers and rangefinders to diverse camera and video capture options.
Boeing has enough UAV projects to fill a magazine, it is a true giant in the industry. This modest size flying robot canard design is designed to be shot out of a cannon, at which point it unfolds its wing and proceeds on its mission.
Quinetiq North America exhibited a variety of air and ground robots. It is a well-established vendor of unmanned systems.
Quinetiq offers platforms for the warfighter ground and air, as well a surveillance options, and more.
MLB Co. manufactures low cost UAV systems with up to 15 hours duration with stabilized night and day camera payloads. MLB specializes in turnkey systems, aerial mapping, flight services, training and R&D.
DJI World develops and manufactures UAV systems like this multirotor, ground control systems as well as professional film, TV and aerial photography platforms.
OBJET provides 3D printing systems that reduce the cost of product development and shorten time-to-market timeframes.
HDT Global offers fully integrated deployable technology solutions that are currently deployed in U.S. and allied military units worldwide. These include not only robotics but also environmental control systems, air filtration, generators and much more.
The robot hand by HDT Global has opposable thumbs.
Boston Dynamics, known for its innovative  DARPA-funded platforms such as “BigDog” brought a variety of unique robots to AUVSI. Shown here is the large LS3, capable of carrying a 400-pound payload and walking wherever soldiers trek.
Boston Dynamics' smaller RHex with “c-shaped” wheels for scrabbling over creek beds and up drainage pipes.
The Boston Dynanmics SandFlea, like others in this company's stable of mobile bots, combine autonomy with groundbreaking mobility. Don’t miss the videos of these robots and their full-size humanoids at
John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and Synbotics mounted an APL torso with arms, hands, opposable thumbs and an HD stereo camera head on a Synbotics rough-terrain transport base. This Centaur then climbed a small artificial hill.
ROBOTEAM develops advanced multi-purpose robots for defense, public safety, security and other applications.
ROBOTEAM rough terrain rover.
Danielson Aircraft Systems exhibited a “heavy diesel” burning UAV aircraft engine specifically designed for unmanned aircraft.
Beijing Creation Tech Co., Ltd. sported this bright red UAV. The company provides platforms for the Chinese civilian market and “after 10 years of hard work,” now provides T10 UAS’s in both gas and electric versions.
Daniels Manufacturing Corp. makes mil-qualified crimp tools, wiring system maintenance kits, insertion/removal tools and backshell assembly tools and more. Hey, we make robots to acquire the tools, right?
UconSystem, Inc. was paired with Firstec in a booth branded Foosung. The company develops robots in the information acquisition arena.
Another from the Foosung booth.
Stark Aerospace produces the Heron 1, Hunter and Ghost unmanned aerial systems as well as a variety of electro-optic sensors (scale models shown).
Stark Aerospace scale model.
Stark Aerospace scale model.
OceanServer Technology, Inc. offers man-portable, autonomous underwater vehicles for sensor development, research, survey work and security applications. Shown is the Iver2 robot sub. OceanServer also specializes in 3-axis digital compasses and LiPo battery solutions.
Starkey Aerospace Corp. develops turbojet engines for UAS’s with technologies such as lube-free bearings, fluidic thrust vectoring and afterburners. Starkey is developing an engine to power the world’s first 50kg supersonic UAV, the SX-1, shown.
Altavian, Inc. produces unmanned aircraft that deliver high-res images and data at a level of quality that the company claims surpasses that of all other UAV products available today. Altavian all-electric systems feature low maintenance, minimal launch time, direct geo-referencing and light weight.
ASV Unmanned Marine Systems offers robotic solutions for the hydrographic, oceanographic, environmental, oil and gas, and shipping industries.
Unmanned Vehicle University offers education and training relating to unmanned air, ground and sea systems, and it offers online MS and PhD as well as executive certificate courses.
World Surveillance Group, Inc. develops autonomous lighter-than-air vehicles for government-related, military, defense and commercial entities that require real time intelligence, surveillance, recon and communications. The company exhibited its “Blimp in a Box” and showed photos of the huge Argus airship.
Crescent Unmanned Systems was one of many vendors exhibiting multirotors in quadcopter configurations such as this. The robot is designed for use by law enforcement and allied groups for accident reconstruction, search-and-rescue, crowd control, land and sea traffic monitoring, infrastructure protection and crisis management.
Silent Falcon UAS Technologies offers this innovative UAV that has photovoltaic cells on the tops of the wings to utilize sunlight to power extended flights of up to 14 hours.
Microturbo, of the Safran Group based in Toulouse, France produces this jet engine for UAVs. It is a world leader in propulsion systems with over 10,000 units delivered.
Bluefin Robotics Corp. is a leading provider of free-flooded, modular underwater robots for the U.S.Navy Programs of Record. Bluefin designs prototype UUVs and subsea batteries for commercial, defense and scientific customers worldwide.
Drone America, LLC exhibited two infused carbon fiber UAV systems, one amphibious and one land based for “total redundancy”. Drone America offers ‘made in America’ products known for quality, performance, reliability and cost effectiveness.
Drone America amphibian.
ThinGap LLC produces custom high performance motors and generators using composite stator technology for unprecedented power density and mechanical flexibility.
LaserMotive has powered aircraft for durations that are 150 times battery life by beaming power to the UAV via a laser beam. The company also offers ground and submarine solutions.
Azmark Aero Systems has developed this amazingly compact turbine generator that can produce 500 Watts of continuous electrical power. Compare the credit card size room key at bottom.
NextGen Aeronautics has completed more than 120 development projects since its founding in 2003. These have included cellular docking UAVs, bio-mimetic UAVs and the world’s first autonomous in-flight morphing UAV.
Desert Aircraft designs and manufactures high performance two and four-stroke engines for UAVs and giant scale RC aircraft. Current production engines range in power from 3.5 to 30 HP and include custom high-altitude UAV designs. Systems developed for the UAV market include fuel injection and sophisticated ignition systems.
Castle Special Projects is the leading brushless motor and controller manufacturer in the U.S. Castle’s power systems range from under 50 watts to 10,000 watts and Castle’s systems are found in most production UAS’s in that range. Castle also markets to RC pilots under the Castle Creations brand. As we walked through the show, we found Castle motors and speed controls in any number of UAVs being used for propulsion and for “under the hood” internal subsystems.
A compact black, geared brushless motor with a narrow cross-section was shown by Castle for sailplane planforms. Engineering and production at Castle is all performed in a suburb of Kansas City.
Neu Motors partners with Castle. Neu brushless motors as well as a tricopter using Neu motors were exhibited in the Castle booth.
Carbon fiber propellers designed for UAVs shown in the Castle booth.
Sullivan UV manufactures power systems and electronics for unmanned vehicles and for the RC market. These include alternators, starters, starter-alternators, power regulation electronics, battery management tools and more. At the show, Sullivan alternators for UAVs were shown with max power ratings ranging from 500 to 3500 watts.
3W Engines & Airplanes showed off several of its engines optimized for UAV use. 3W, based in Germany, is another engine company serving both the UAV and RC markets, with specialized designs for each.
Mesa Technologies is a minority woman-owned business producing low-cosst man packable to mid-size robots. Mesa’s mid-size platform as semi-autonomous controls to maximize transportability, adaptability and mobility, and can be teleoperated to ranges in excess of 500 meters. The larger unit shown can be used for medevac, route clearance, power generation and more.
ING Engineering offers training for UAS sensor operators and pilots. Using online e-learning and sim software as well as live flight, ING teaches the fundamentals and advanced techniques such as the production, exploitation and dissemination of full motion video.
Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) showed off its TURNA and SIMSEK UAV products.
TAI provides fixed wing and rotary platforms as integrated aerospace systems.
Arcturus UAV produces the T-20, a runway-independent, catapult-launched robot designed for long endurance ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance).
With a payload capacity up to 75 pounds, the Arcturus UAV T-20 has been selected as a platform for the NAVAIR ISR services contract.
Honeywell specializes in avionics, communications, propulsion, auxiliary power and aftermarket support. This robot can hover and surveil.
SRI International specializes in end-to-end solutions for video processing, exploitation and dissemination. Optimized for bandwidth-constrained applications, SRI provides real-time video stabilization, 3D visualization and emmersive situational awareness.

General Dynamics Robotics Systems showed this scale model of an unmanned sub. The actual robot is 19 feet long and 21 inches in diameter. The Knifefish is desgined to perform surface mine countermeasures.
Lockheed Martin showed several types of unmanned systems, including this UAS.
Lockheed Martin’s HTV-2 is a hypersonic project that is part of a partnership with DARPA and the USAF. It has an innovative lift-to-drag shape and the design represents the 'largest complex carbon-carbon shapes ever produced.'
FLIR pod in the Lockheed Martin booth. Look at those eyes!
Aurora Flight Sciences, Corp. showed a back-packable flying wing surveillance platform that has motors with adjustable thrust angles and throttling. See it fly at:
Prioria Robotics, Inc. says they are dedicated to making their UAVs smarter, and they serve civilian, commercial and military markets. This small carbon fiber robot plane was an example of the many very small, model-size aircraft at the show.
Composite Engineering, Inc (CEI) had two svelte aerial target drones in their booth. This BQM-177 is 17ft long with a wingspan of 7 feet and can fly at Mach 1.1 at altitudes up to 45,000ft. It can carry 100 pounds of payload under each wing. It carries 63 gallons of aviation fuel and 2.2 gallons of smoke oil!
CEI’s Firejet Multi-Role Aerial Target System is 10.75ft in length and weighs 130 pounds. Two 81-lb. thrust turbo jets can boost this drone to 35,000 feet. It’s maneuverability stats are 10g instantaneous and 6g sustained at 10,000ft.
SAAB has been offering defense and security solutions for 75 years. The Skeldar system can carry a payload of 40kg and has a range of 150km.
SAAB’s Subrov can be released from a submarine to perform a variety of surveillance, inspection and intelligence tasks.
BAE Systems showed off this collapsible drone, called the Coyote, that can be shot from a cannon. It’s wings swing out after launch—check out the the hinge points.
One of the many multirotors at the conference, this is a BAE Systems offering.
Aerovironment is a longtime pioneer in unmanned systems. The Switchblade is a small UAS that unfolds after it is fired from a cannon. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and has a 10 minute endurance at a speed of 55 to 85 kts. Range: 10km.
A small Aerovironment UAS. Compare the size of the person to the left!
UAVER, a company based in Taiwan, exhibited this smart looking flying wing called the Swallow.
The UAVER Avian twin fixed wing UAS.
BOCA BEARING was one of several RC hobby companies at the show that offer products to the UAV market. BOCA offers all types of bearings, metal and ceramic, for every imaginable application in robotics.
UAV Factory exhibited this fixed wing drone. The company specializes in in onboard electric generators, catapult launch systems, high precision components and more.
The twin engine Toyon Pescadaero from Toyon Research Corp. is designed to be able to land in water.
Note the Cobra motor from Innov8tive Designs in the adjustable motor pod mount on the wingtip of the Toyon Pescadaero.   Innov8tive also sells Scorpion motors—both brands were seen in many of the platforms exhibited at the conference.
Innov8tive Designs has brought their Next Level family of multirotors to market in the last year and a number of companies are using them. This quadcopter was one of several at the conference.
UTC Aerospace Systems brought several impressive robots, including this system that looks a lot like a hobby sailplane, but with an observation pod.
NEANY, Inc. exhibited a large UAS that retains the compartment originally designed for a pilot, but robotic gear, and observation equipment, now occupy much of that space.
Detail of interior of the NEANY UAS.
Note the machine gun mounted on this unmanned boat system from NEANY.
UASUSA offers precision designed aircraft that originated in the high performance RC sailplane market. These planes have an excellent reputation for their quality and strong performance in extremely high-g maneuvers.
Lockheed Martin showed several types of unmanned systems, including the Desert Hawk.
Lockheed Martin showed several types of unmanned systems, including the Desert Hawk.
Students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University brought a host of very interesting robots. This is a quadcopter with a laser range finding set up.
Detail of laser system used on the Embry Riddle quad.
Embry-Riddle students printed this airplane wing using a 3D printer.
Embry-Riddle students designed this flying wing that uses a smartphone for flight stabilization and control.
Embry-Riddle design for a ground robot in the NASA-sponsored moon regolith contest (Lunabotics).
Embry-Riddle design for RoboMagellan type contests in which ground robots must autonomously find waypoints and achieve goals while avoiding hazards.
Admiral Matt Klunder takes a turn driving a SeaPerch submersible robot. SeaPerch is now part of the AUVSI Foundation competition program.
Admiral Matt Klunder takes a turn driving a SeaPerch submersible robot. SeaPerch is now part of the AUVSI Foundation competition program.
WDL Systems specializes in a range of embedded products and showed off this cute live, realtime walking robot that could balance on a treadmill that was continually tipping back and forth. The bot uses the PC/104+ board.
WDL booth.
Geodetics showed state of the art secure mil-qualified units and commercial systems that move beyond standard GPS. Their “Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module” (SAASM) offers high-accuracy real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS capability. This system shows options for ground troops.
This Geodetics system is an advanced GPS location and positioning solution for aircraft.
A United Arab Emirates student team and Northrop Grumman joined hands in the Northrop Grumman sponsored 2012 Unmanned Systems Rodeo competition held in the UAE at the Higher Colleges of Technologies campus in Abu Dhabi. Representatives from the winning team and Northrop Grumman were at a booth exhibiting a student designed UAV.
Hanwha, a leading defense technology company in South Korea, displayed this underwater vehicle that can search and map the ocean floor and harbors. The platform can “remove water based mines and create detailed submarine topographic maps.”
A robotic ornithopter “research prototype” in the Hanwha booth.
The Crow-B unmanned aerial system in the Hanwha booth.
ADAPTIVE FLIGHT exhibited this sharp looking unmanned helicopter for law enforcement.
EXONE Co. specializes in 3D printing and printed this piece of heavy duty machinery that is solid metal. The parts are printed then put in a kiln and come out as if milled from solid metal or cast.
An amazing giant size Mechanum wheel 3D printed by EXONE. The mount on the wall alone weighs 85 pounds.
A Robotics Demonstration Reception was held in a demonstration suite Tuesday, August 7. The SDSU Advanced Defense Technology Cluster Companies; First Research, Science & Technology, LLC; and the San Diego Lindbergh Chapter of AUVSI sponsored and hosted the reception for invited guests from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Organized by Monica England (pictured), Director of Membership & Events for the San Diego Lindbergh Chapter of AUVSI.
The reception was a great time to meet leading robotics pioneers and a variety of event attendees. Among those in attendance at the reception were, Left to right: Ryan Williams of Carnowski Exhibits, Michael Beebe, U.S. ARMY Medical Research and Material Command, TATRC, and Mike Castillo, Co-founder and Vice President, MARRS, LLC.
The reception included half a dozen sponsors—Total 3rd Dimension, MARSS, LLC,  Micro USA