Old MacDonald had a robot
Farms grow more than just food. For the last couple of years, one of the biggest crops has been unmanned systems. See our feature article for an overview on the trends driving the growing agricultural market for robots.
One notion that OCU Pros has explored, both in this newsletter and on AMREL’s corporate blog, is the possible erosion of the economic advantage of unmanned systems (A future for manned unmanned vehicles?, P. W. Singer, Tight Budgets, and the Future of Robots, The Incredibly Shrinking UGV). So when NDIA’s “National Defense” ran an article about “Unsustainable” UAVs, it certainly got our attention. However, what really is unsustainable are not unmanned systems themselves, but unnecessary duplication. The budget squeeze may yield an even greater emphasis on interoperability.
OCU Pros also links to Navy’s announcement of a successful flight of an unmanned helicopter using biofuel. This story has the feel of inevitability about it. The US military has embarked on highly publicized “green” campaign and, according to some reports, aviation fuel accounts for more than 50% of DoD’s energy consumption. Expect low-carbon footprint robots in our future.
There has always been a concern that terrorists would use unmanned systems against us. The stories we link to below suggest that such efforts are more worthy of ridicule than fear. For now.
If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at this jaw-dropping photo of the Air Force’s unmanned giant blimp parked next to a comparatively tiny 18-wheeler truck. An unbelievably big platform for ISR, it runs counter to the long-term trend of ever smaller unmanned systems.
November is a busy month for OCU Pros. Our very own Ron McMahan will be particpating in a UGV Interoeprablity session at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems Interoperability Conference in San Diego. Also, in San Diego, AMREL will be exhibiting at the UAV Summit West.
See you next month!