Unmanned Vehicle Makers from Boston, Seattle, and San Diego (Xconomy’s Cities) Showcase Advances at DC Confab

The world’s largest collection of unmanned aircraft and other robotic systems is coming in for a landing this week in Washington, D.C., at a four-day conference that’s sponsored by AUVSI, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Today’s the big day for video capture, with live demonstrations of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) taking place at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Inigoes, MD. The rest of the conference returns tomorrow to the Washington Convention Center.

As it turns out, a lot of expertise in robotics and unmanned systems is concentrated in San Diego, Boston, and Seattle. Companies based in all three Xconomy cities have scheduled presentations and press conferences, although I could find just one, Insitu, from the greater Seattle area. Here’s my rundown:

Aurora Flight Sciences (Manassas, VA). The government contractor has scheduled a press conference Wednesday afternoon that could be related to its Excaliber UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) or SunLight Eagle, a large, solar-powered UAV. Aurora, which maintains close ties with MIT and operates a major R&D lab in Cambridge, MA, successfully completed a first flight of the Excaliber last month, and describes the vertical takeoff and landing UAV as the first in a new class of unmanned combat systems. The company said in May it had completed a series of SunLight Eagle flights.

Hydroid (Pocasset, MA). Hydroid, which was acquired by Norway’s Kongsberg family of companies in December 2007, has set a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss the capabilities of its line of torpedo-like autonomous underwater vehicles.

Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA). Roger Hess of Swiss-owned Maxon is giving an oral presentation on “A Robot To Help The Environment” as part of a conference track on unmanned ground vehicles. Maxon makes precision electric motors and high-precision drive systems.

Protonex (Southborough, MA). Paul Osenar and colleagues from fuel cell systems developer Protonex are giving a presentation on their development of fuel cells for long-duration electric UAVs and UGVs.

Insitu (Bingen, WA). The Boeing subsidiary has scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the Integrator, its next-generation UAV, and latest technological advances within its family of unmanned systems.

Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems and Information Systems divisions (San Diego). The Southern California defense contractor has arranged a number of media updates Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning—as well as conference presentations—to describe work that encompasses its high-altitude Global Hawk UAV, the unmanned Fire Scout helicopter, its Remotec Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for bomb disposal and other work, and its $1.2 billion Broad Area Maritime Surveillance UAV program intended to provide oceanic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for the Navy.

—SAIC (San Diego). The big defense contractor also known as Science Applications International Corp., the U.S. Coast Guard, and University of Alaska will discuss the use of unmanned aircraft systems in oceanic airspace over international waters.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (San Diego). GA Aeronautical plans to give a presentation Thursday morning on the multi-mission capabilities of its Predator B UAV.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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