Flight technical editor Rob Coppinger was blogging last week from the 1st US-Asian demonstration and assessment of micro aerial and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) technology, also known as MAV08, the latest in a series of US military sponsored events encouraging micro air vehicle (MAV) development.
At the conference’s final plenary session US and Australian military delegates expressed a need for MAVs with night capabilities and all-weather designs that were more rugged.
Having seen what was a deliberately tough mission to push the technical capabilities of the competitors at MAV08, I would think that future additional hurdles of operating at night and in all-weather would be quite some feat, and I suspect is more likely to be seen in MAV 2012 rather than MAV09.
Despite the tough challenge that was MAV08′s operational scenario involving MAVs and UGVs operating together to detect mines, terrorists and the location of a hostage, four teams tied for first place in the best mission performance category.
The conference had four other award categories, best UGV design, best rotorcraft, best autonomous MAV performance and best exotic MAV design.
The four winning teams of the best mission performance category were Massachusetts Institute of Technology, France ’s Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), the University of Arizona and the Martin Mueller Engineering company.The three half-days of trials at the Indian Air Force’s drop zone on the outskirts of Agra city saw rain and wind and MAV and UGV technical problems end many attempts by the 12 competing teams to complete the mission.
The most successful teams were MIT and ENAC, which both won twice with a joint first place in best mission and the best rotorcraft performance for MIT and best autonomous MAV performance for ENAC.
The MIT team used a quad-rotor MAV developed by German company Ascending Technologies and ENAC used its own fixed wing design.
The Agra conference was the fourth in a series of international competitions supported by the US military to evaluate competing MAV technologies. The other three were held in Germany , Florida and France in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.