Unmanned systems show is buzzing

By Joseph Normandin

Posted by John McHale


What a difference a year makes. Last year's Unmanned Systems North America show in San Diego was informative and well attended but seemed to be reflecting some of that Southern California June gloom. This year it's just the opposite with packed stands and busy aisles.

What a difference a year makes. Last year's Unmanned Systems North America show in San Diego was informative and well attended but seemed to be reflecting some of that Southern California June gloom. This year it's just the opposite with packed stands and busy aisles.

Maybe it's the fact that it is in Washington where unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) , undmanned ground vehicles, and unmanned undersea vehicles attract more government and definitely more local press.

Highlights at the event include General Atomics discussing the new Predator C Avenger , iRobot officials announcing more orders for the Packbot unmanned ground system, and Insitu’s ScanEagle surpassing 200,000 operational flight hours.

"In a year when people are wondering where the funding will come from funding for unmanned systems is one are that is definitely going up,"” one defense electronics supplier told me.

Every exhibitor I've talked to says traffic is strong and people are looking to spend money for autonomous programs.

Lots of non-traditional defense companies are also angling for a piece of the action. Sony, the maker of popular camcorders and televisions and monitors had a nice sized booth at the show.

No they weren't pushing flat screens, but rather they were showcasing their machine vision line of high-performance cameras for use on UAVs.

It's a market "we're exploring that has a potential for growth," says Drew Buttress, product manager for visual imaging products at Sony. He says Sony understands the military market and its long life cycles and that Sony supports its machine vision products for the long-term, still selling cameras that are nearly 10 years old.

It's heartening to go to a crowded trade show in a tough economic time. Maybe it's sign things are turning around.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

January 2014
Volume 25, Issue 1
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