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Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) recently sponsored the Utah State University Coding Competition. The event was held in late February by the USU chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Members of ASI's software development team supplied a problem designed to take a second-year computer science student about twenty minutes to solve.

"Thanks to the help [of our sponsors] we were able to hold the biggest coding competition USU has ever seen," said the USU-ACM team in a letter to sponsors.

More than 130 students in 62 teams participated in the competition, with submissions in six computer languages ranging from JavaScript to C++. ASI was one of eight local companies to submit a challenge question for students to complete.

ASI's problem centered on "The New Economic Reality," a documentary researching the economic impact of depopulation throughout the world. After beginning with a set of assumptions and inputs, participants went to work developing a software program that measures key indicators of population decline.


Winners received ASI branded items as prizes.

ASI's involvement in the competition highlights a continual effort to cultivate relationships with neighboring Utah State University and to give back to the community.

"We have great people working at ASI that have a desire to get involved, particularly supporting STEM education," said Dru Brown, ASI's Marketing Manager. "One of the great things coming from ASI's success is it puts us in a position to have a positive impact on the community."

ASI's recently convened "Give Back Committee" demonstrates the company's commitment to making a positive difference. The committee is charged with organizing company efforts in the community for STEM team sponsorships, scholarships, fund raising events, and more.


ASI added to 2014 RBR50 list

The Robotics Business Review (RBR) recently announced the 2014 RBR50 list which recognizes fifty of the most promising robotics companies in the world. The list includes organizations like Google, Caterpillar, Boeing, Northrup Gruman, and iRobot. Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is pleased to be selected to this elite group.

More than 1500 nominations were received for the 2014 list. The RBR editorial team and an advisory council of respected industry professionals narrowed these nominations to fifty that receive RBR50 distinction. This year's RBR50 list is a diverse group representing thirteen countries, both public and private sectors, and sizes ranging from startups to billion dollar corporations.

"This international sampling of innovators were recognized based on their innovation, ground breaking applications, commercial success and/or commercial potential," the RBR team stated in their press release.

This is a great way to kick off 2014, and we're working hard to make sure this is an annual recognition.

"Most importantly, 2014's RBR50 is indicative of the industries where Robotics Business Review has noted significant growth over the last year, and points to tectonic shifts in the kinds of robots being developed for those markets."





On November 1, 2013, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. celebrated their thirteenth year of business. Since November 2000, ASI has automated more than sixty different types of vehicles; deploy hundreds of robots worldwide; and provided solutions that improve productivity and safety in challenging spaces, including: military, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and automotive.

As the year winds down, we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. This past year was full of exciting events, notable implementations, product releases, and industry awards.

This article will take you through some of the more prominent happenings during ASI's Year Thirteen.

Mar 2013—ASI adopts AGILE development methodology
To deliver the best possible product while being able to accommodate customer feedback, ASI teams adopt AGILE development methodologies.

Apr 2013—Guideline Receives Bronze Edison Award
On April 25th, the prestigious Edison Awards selected ASI's Guideline Robotic Convoy product as a 2013 Bronze winner. Guideline is a tethered, unmanned convoy system currently undergoing in-theater testing.


Ford Robotic Durability Program

Jun 2013—Ford Motor Company Announces Robotic Program
Ford Motor Company announced its robotic durability testing program designed to protect drivers from their most punishing test tracks. ASI's automotive team worked with Ford engineers for three years to supply the vehicle robotics for Ford's program.

Jul 2013—USPTO Issues Two New Trademarks
ASI adds to its store of intellectual property with two new trademarks for the Forecast 3D laser system and the Vantage obstacle detection and avoidance system.

Aug 2013—ASI Announces New Forge Robotic Platform at AUVSI
ASI unveils the new Forge robotic platform at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington DC. The new product answer the need for an x-by-wire robotic platform usable across multiple industries.


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OEM Off Highway Nov/Dec IssueThe article "Driver Not Included" in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of OEM Off-Highway magazine features an interview with ASI's Mitch Torrie and Paul Lewis.

The following article includes excerpts from an interview between ASI founders Mitch Torrie and Paul Lewis and the OEM Off-Highway magazine.

The magazine article, entitled "Driver Not Included," was published in the November/December 2013 issue and highlights the history and benefits of vehicle automation.

"When we started ten years ago, the technology for GPS systems and IMUs was much more expensive—ten times as expensive as it is now," says Paul Lewis, co-founder and Director of Software Development at Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI). For the past thirteen years, ASI has provided vehicle robotics to customers in a range of industries including mining, military, farming, and automotive.

While vehicle automation remains an emerging technology in most of these industries, the price of technology and public acceptance continue to improve.


"We were working with early adopters creating proof of concept machines," continues Lewis. "Now that the market is more mature, the technology is cheaper and more accessible for higher volumes, and people are culturally willing to accept vehicles that drive themselves."

Recent events in the industry, like Google's purchase of Boston Dynamics, highlight the buzz about robotics as 'the next big thing.'

Even with more companies entering the space, ASI remains well positioned as an experienced leader with key product advantages, most notably, the Mobius™ command and control software.

"The way we designed Mobius was to allow the user to change a fair amount of how it looked, felt, and what information was being presented to them," explains Lewis. "We're working on some next generation simplifications to make the system even more powerful and easy to use."

"Instead of selecting a specific application for a particular vehicle for a certain location," added Mitch Torrie, co-founder and Director of Vehicle Automation at ASI, "the system will automatically suggest the most appropriate actions… While our early adopters were technically literate, now we're putting our systems on vehicles in countries where it may be difficult to find an operator with a driver's license, let alone high technical skills.




Hardware Innovation of the Year AwardASI and Ford Motor Company received the 2013 Hardware Innovation of the Year Award from the Automotive Testing Technology International group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PETERSBORO, UT—November 18, 2013. The Automotive Testing International magazine announced today that Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) and Ford Motor Company won the 2013 Hardware Innovation of the Year Award. The two companies teamed up to develop Ford's robotic durability testing program which was officially announced in June. The program uses robotic components and software developed by ASI to convert Ford testing vehicles from manual to robotic control. The automation technology improves safety for test drivers who were at risk of injury from prolonged exposure to rough test tracks.




"Removing the risk of long-term spinal injuries to human test drivers from essential durability trials demonstrates a commitment by Ford to both its employees undertaking the work, as well as to the customers for whom it develops vehicles that can take the punishment," said Keith Read, columnist for the Automotive Testing Technology International publication and member of judging body for the award.

Ford engineers worked with ASI specialists for three years to develop, tune, and test the robotic kits for use at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds. Ford test vehicles equipped with robotic technology have now accumulated tens of thousands of miles of testing data.

"We are honored to be selected for this year's Hardware Innovation of the Year Award," said Mel Torrie, President and CEO of ASI. "This award represents the hard work and ingenuity of many talented individuals from both Ford and ASI. Ford's robotic durability program shows how far unmanned technology has come and how useful it can be to improve safety and productivity."

The Hardware Innovation of the Year Award is given annually to recognize innovative technology solutions in the automotive vehicle development community. Readers and editorial staff contribute nominations which are reviewed by an independent body of expert judges.



Discovery Channel Canada's science and technology news series, Daily Planet, aired the Bingham Canyon Mine story as part of their September 23, 2013 episode.

One of the largest landslides in mining history quickly became a showcase for autonomous mining technology. Shortly after the April 10th slide, administrators of the Bingham Canyon Mine (Kennecott/Rio Tinto) near Salt Lake City, Utah, began looking for innovative ways to clean up the debris, much of which is steep and unstable. With more than ten years of experience automating mining equipment, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) provided the technology for six remote control excavators to assist cleanup efforts.

The application of ASI's vehicle robotics caught the attention of media outlets, including the Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet, which highlights interesting technology applications around the world in short documentaries. The Daily Planet joined ASI reps at the Bingham Canyon Mine to see the effects of the slide and robotic mining equipment in action.

"The scope of the slide was immense," said Jared Pratt, VP of Business Development for ASI who was onsite with production crews. "It was hard to mentally frame due to the scale of both the mine and the equipment addressing it."

"The remote control solutions for the excavators were and are a critical component of the remediation," continued Pratt. "The technology allows for heavy machinery to operate in the slide area near the face of the pit without putting individuals in harm's way."

So far, robotic technology has been responsible for clearing more than 80,000 tons of material from the unstable areas near the top of the slide. Clearly, there's still a long way to go, but equipped with the latest technologies, Kennecott is pushing cleanup efforts forward while ensuring the safety of their employees.


Translogic highlights the LAPD Batcat. Watch Video

Aol Auto's Translogic series highlights the BatCat telehandler operated by the Los Angeles Police Department. Watch Video.



Bad guys, beware! The BatCat will get you. Aol Auto's Translogic series released a video highlighting the Bomb Assessment Tactical Counter Assault Tool (BatCat) owned and operated by the Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad. The specialized fork lift can be used in a variety of applications, including: breaching buildings, inspecting bombs, and even supporting a sniper perch.

The BatCat was designed to be an all-purpose, heavy duty telehandler that can be driven manually or by remote control depending on the danger of the situation. That's where Autonomous Solutions, Inc. comes in. ASI handled the vehicle automation technology that enables officers to drive the BatCat remotely, allowing officers to operate downrange without physically being in danger.

The same robotic technology found in the BatCat is also being used by the US Air Force for target vehicles, Ford Motor Company's robotic durability program, and other mining and agricultural groups.

"The whole idea is we want to be able to keep people out of harm's way," said ASI's Eric Budd during his Translogic interview.

"BatCat is designed to be very methodical, and very precise," said Officer Rich Nagatoshi who was instrumental in bringing the BatCat to the LAPD. The BatCat can be equipped with a variety of attachments such as lifting forks or even a massive claw capable of crushing a car. The BatCat's versatility makes is the first choice of bomb squad officers in difficult and dangerous situations. "When we roll up on scene, it's because they need us."


International Resource Journal: October 2013 issueThe October 2013 issue of the International Resource Journal highlights the capabilities of ASI's mining vehicle technology in the article "Age of Autonomy."

"One of the greatest benefits of automation is the efficiency of a machine, and the way in which it operates," said Mitch Torrie, Director of Vehicle Automation at ASI to Juliet Langton, Editor of the International Resource Journal (IRJ). The IRJ approached Torrie in August about the impact of vehicle automation in the mining industry. ASI has provided robotic solutions to the mining industry for about ten years and has taken part in a range of technology advancements over the years. The following quotations are excerpts from Torrie's interview with the IRJ.

Productivity & Cost Improvements
"Often we get reports from customers that their manual drivers will speed down a hill, potentially damaging the vehicle frame, so that they can sit and eat their lunch or read the newspaper," said Torrie.

Automation technology is designed to operate mining equipment as closely to OEM specs and safe operating procedures for the environment as possible, making maintenance schedules much more predictable.

"Even if the operator sets a high speed on a road, for example," continued Torrie, "the software looks ahead and knows the center of gravity and the mass and everything else for the vehicle, and it will slow the vehicle down for a corner if it might roll at the speed that the operator set."

One of the greatest barriers to the acceptance of mining automation technology has been the high cost. However, as the technology becomes more refined, the prices continue to become more affordable.



Robotics Business Review Game Changer Award Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SANTA CLARA, CA—October 23, 2013. The Robotics Business Review announced today that the Forge™ Robotic Platform received its inaugural Game Changer Award. Forge, developed by Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI), was nominated for the award in the Autonomous Navigation category—one of eight categories for current and emerging robotic technologies. The winners were announced in a press release this afternoon in conjunction with the RoboBusiness 2013 conference now underway in Santa Clara, CA.

"Every entry was eminently worthy of an award," said Tom Green, Editor-in-Chief of Robotics Business Review. The Game Changer Award received nominations from a global audience in a range of industries.


"Every product entered displayed an imaginative concept, innovative engineering, and great practicality. Every entry is a marvelous contribution to robotics. All of which made the judging ever so difficult."

The eight-person review panel for the Game Changer award represented an expert, cross-industry perspective including business, engineering, and academia. Each nomination was rated for standout attributes, design, functionality, benefit to robotics as a whole, and impact to the nomination category.

With high marks in each focus area, Forge joins an elite class of robotics solutions receiving the Game Changer distinction.

ASI developed Forge to answer the need for a single platform capable of performing a variety of autonomous, cross-industry duties. Forge leverages advanced vehicle robotics and more than a hundred skid steer attachments to enable full automation of tasks such as mowing, trenching, street painting, and sweeping.

"We've had a lot of requests for an x-by-wire solution," said Mel Torrie, ASI's President & CEO. "We developed Forge to meet that need, and the Game Changer award is an indication that we're very close to where we need to be. We're honored to receive this recognition from the Robotics Business Review and many of our industry peers."



The tiny remote control trucks stole the spotlight at the Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) booth at AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2013 this year. Flanked by ASI's new robotic platform, Forge™, the remote control mining trucks zipped around on a map, demonstrating the multi-vehicle choreography of ASI's Mobius™ command and control software system.

That's not the only thing ASI was showing off in Washington D.C. ASI's marketing team has been hard at work on a rebranding campaign to freshen the ASI look and align communications with the company's dual message of safety and simplicity in automation.

Starting with the launch of a new website in mid-June, the industry has seen elements of this new brand, including the latest installment at AUVSI.

"The new logo balances the elements of technology and direction," said ASI's Brandon Adams, Sr. UX Architect and creative lead on the rebranding project. "The gear and compass in the new logo are equally proportioned to represent our balance of engineering and leadership." As demonstrated by, aptly named, Forge, ASI continues to lead out in the vehicle automation industry, leveraging more than 12 years of experience to provide solutions for some of the most challenging problems faced by companies today.


"The new brand is designed to communicate very clearly that ASI is dedicated to providing simplicity in a market that is largely dominated by complexity," said Dru Brown, Marketing Manager at ASI.

The cost of automation components has dropped to the point of being affordable for many industries, however, end users are continually hampered by the complexity involved. ASI's new tagline "Automation Simplified" demonstrates the focus on eliminating that complexity in all aspects: installation, user interface, support, documentation, and more.

"We're excited for the new direction that this brand is moving us in," said Brown. "We've been experimenting for the last year or two with our overall brand, and we feel that we're now pretty close to where we need to be. We've got several elements coming up on release that will add even more interactivity and dimension to the brand, and we're looking forward to the feedback."