The OCU Pros Report Vol. 24   March 2012
So many unmanned systems, so few customers   A LinkedIn discussion inspires this month’s featured article, “Why are there more unmanned platforms than customers?”  I offer some thoughts on why the commercial market isn’t responding to the bewildering assortment unmanned vehicles that are being offered.   AMREL has frequently used the Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference (GRCC) to announce breakthroughs.  In the past, we introduced Flexpedient® Technology for common control OCU solutions as well as interoperable payloads. This year, we are taking interoperability a step further with the launch of rugged mobile computing solutions for Unmanned Subsystems.  If you want to get a preview of these exciting new solutions, reserve your time at our Technology Suite (see sidebar).   Last December we discussed the advantages of legged vs. wheeled unmanned systems (Walk N’ Roll). Legged advocates argue that we need humanoid robots to work in a humanoid environment. An example that supports this line of reasoning is the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR), which is being developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).  As the NRL website states, “A humanoid-type robot was chosen because it was deemed best suited to operate within the confines of an environment that was designed for human mobility and offered opportunity for other potential warfighting applications within the Navy and Marine Corps.”   Another example of a legged unmanned system is Boston Dynamics quadrupedal Cheetah, which recently broke the land-speed record for robots (link to video below). As the writer for Slate.com points out, the last world–record was set twenty years ago.  Also, note that this record was set on a laboratory treadmill, not in the real-world environment of uneven landscapes. These two facts highlight the difficulty in engineering unmanned systems that use legs.   Lest you think that all biologically mimicking unmanned systems are as elegant as the Cheetah, we bring you a story about three-foot tall armed spider robots.  These are being developed for the world of university gaming, because, as we all know, college kids do not have enough ways of wasting time. However, the Artificial Intelligence program for these Unmanned Arachnid Systems allows them to “identify targets, track, corner, flank, communicate with each other,” so there may have more practical applications as well.   The least elegant biologically-mimicking unmanned system of all time has to be the so-called “Orvillecopter.”  You may have seen videos of quadrocopters doing some amazing things.  Someone thought that it would be nifty to take a hide of a dead cat and stick it on a quadrocopter.  This is one of those ideas that sounds bad in theory, and is actually much worse in execution.  Link to video below.   See you at the GRCC in San Diego!
Why are there more unmanned platforms than customers?   Doesn’t the market understand the brilliance of our creations?   Full article here
NRL Designs Robot for Shipboard Firefighting   If robots fight fires, will they get their own calendar?   Full article here
Cheetah Robot Shatters Land Speed Record (Video)   Now, all we need is a mechanical rabbit for it to chase   Full article here
Three-foot tall armed spider robots   More proof that life is turning into a bad 1950s B movie   Full article here
 Unmanned Feline Quadrocopter (Video)   No animals were harmed in the making of this video   The cat had died beforehand   Full article here    
   
Reserve your space in AMREL’s Technology Suite   Contact: Robert Culver Director of Program Management (603) 325-3376 robertc@amrel.com   Available times Wed  March 21, 3-5pm Thurs March 22,8am-6pm Fri March 23, 8-11am   Spaces filling up quick!  
  Join The OCU Pros List & Receive the Latest Industry News!   If you know somebody who would like to join our list and receive The OCU Pros Reports, please send them the link below!    
  American Reliance Inc. (AMREL) designs and manufactures small-footprint, highly integrated, rugged mobile computing solutions for OCUs. Our modular single solution approach minimizes peripheral devices, the total cost, as well as space and weight requirements. Quickly and easily modified, a single OCU can command and control a wide array of Unmanned Systems.   http://computers.amrel.com http://www.amrel.com

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