AUVSI Unmanned Systems Conference - Atlanta 2015
Kicking off each day at the show was a General Session moderated by Colin Guinn, chief revenue officer, 3D Robotics. Colin joined 3D Robotics in 2014 after co-founding and serving as CEO of DJI North America.
General Session One introduced panelists David Vigilante – senior vice president of legal for CNN, Helen Greiner – CEO of CyPhy Works and Co-founder of iRobot, and Dave Vos – Project Lead at Google. The topic for discussion was current issues of regulations and possible future uses for UAS across all industries. The general consensus from panelists was that we don’t yet know how wide and deep the use of UAS will be. Thought leaders can only imagine the future uses, business leaders and drone users will ultimately define the final applications that become dominant.
Session Two focused on an address from Aviation sub committee member, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-NJ, US House of Representatives regarding the FAA and the slow pace of regs and section 333 exemption approvals. He gave a call to action for all users and business owners to lobby your congressman to advance the use of UAS in the private marketplace. The keynote was a very inspiring talk by Hugh Herr, Ph.D., who heads the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab. When Dr. Herr was a junior in high school, his lower legs were frostbitten severely from a mountaineering accident and had to be amputated below the knees. This experience spurred his interest in inventing orthotic and prosthetic appliances.
As a doctor he took his disability as a challenge to create a program at MIT for biomechanics to address disabilities with the goal of eliminating the consequences of a physical disabilities. The group is succeeding in creating and building systems and procedures for artificial limbs integration with the human body that are better than the originals, along with great success in spinal cord injuries. Just amazing stuff and with this work relating to robotics the future looks much brighter for people with disabilities, and the crossover into other applications can’t be underestimated. Iron Man comes to mind here.
The show floor
We attended last year in Orlando and I saw many of the same exhibitors this year with all their new gadgets and devices. And there was a host of new companies carving a niche in this new industry. On the drone front several new companies attended along with some well known names such as Airware, Sensfly and Microdrones. One notable absence was DJI. Maybe they opted out because of the feud with the general sessions moderator Colin Guinn and the prominent display of his new company products from 3D Robotics.
Of particular interest were some of the craziest looking flying machines imaginable. The purpose of some can’t be easily envisioned without an explanation.
Along with all things drone many of the show exhibitors were component and software makers.
An emerging trend I noted was the presence of many companies providing drones, software and services for 2D and 3D mapping for full color and multi-spectral imaging.
And the perhaps largest group of companies was geared towards robotics and military applications. That is where the big money is, for now.
Next years conference titled “Exponential” will be in New Orleans, maybe we will see you there.
Written and photographed by Paul Morris, President of Miami Aerial. Copyright 2015, Paul Morris