The last day here at AUVSI in Las Vegas. All in all, a great venue and a fantastic opportunity to connect with the various segments of the UAV community.
Before the event started on Monday, I have to admit I was a bit concerned that industry presence would be down this year given the continuing economic uncertainty. I’m happy to report, however, that the exhibit floor has been buzzing with activity all week and the GE Aviation Systems booth has seen a tremendous amount of foot traffic.
As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, the one big difference between this year’s show and last year’s in Washington, DC, is the lack of uniformed military personnel. The DoD has obvious budget constraints and travel amongst our service men and women has been severely limited. It’s absolutely critical to get their insight with regards to what works, what doesn’t, and how the platforms and systems can be improved.
As I’ve walked through the exhibitor floor, I’ve seen an emphasis placed on sensor payloads, digital processing, data links. To me, this makes perfect sense given the DoD’s continued challenge to industry to help solve the issue with PED (Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination). As retired General Dave Deptula famously said several years ago, “We’re swimming in sensors and drowning in data.”
Another interesting aspect of the show has been the involvement from the academic part of the industry (e.g., Oklahoma State University, Embry-Riddle, etc.) and various state economic development groups (e.g., Ohio, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Florida, etc.). More and more universities are conducting UAV research and at some point next year the FAA will announce which states will be named as UAV test sites. They are planning for six across the US.
If I had to pick a couple parts of our booth that have truly stood out and resulted in excellent conversation pieces, I’d choose our EOGRS (Electro-Optical Grid Reference System) drogue and our large-screen display covering the platforms to which we provide systems. The display has also been running a continuous loop of a short UAV video that highlights GE Aviation’s continued presence in this growing part of the military market.
We also gave one final presentation to the public at the “Beyond the Booth” forum. Peter DeBock from the GRC discussed thermal management solutions for UAV applications. Click on the following link for a more in-depth look at Peter’s presentation.
To wrap, it’s been an outstanding four days to connect with the key stakeholders of the UAV industry, gain insights into the current challenges, and discuss our perspective on how GE Aviation Systems is committed to providing new and innovative solutions for UAV operators, manufacturers, and suppliers.