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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."



Guideline Robotic Convoy System joined an elite group of innovations by winning Bronze in the Applied Technology: Safety category.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO, IL—April 26, 2013. The Edison Awards, celebrating 26 years of honoring the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services, announces that the Guideline® Robotic Convoy System was voted a bronze winner for innovation in the Applied Technology: Safety category at the April 25th event at Navy Pier in Chicago. Mel Torrie, President and CEO of Autonomous Solutions, Inc., joined hundreds of senior executives from some of the world's most recognized companies to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of all the 2013 Edison Award winners.

Being recognized with an Edison Award has become one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of innovation and business.


Autonomous Solutions, Inc. joins other bronze winning companies such as Starbucks Coffee Company, Black & Decker, General Motors Company, Intuit, Target Corporation, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

"Our judges recognized Guideline as a true innovator out of the many products in its category," said Frank Bonafilia, executive director of the Edison Awards.

Guideline uses a Kevlar cord to connect unmanned vehicles to a lead vehicle. Sensors in the Guideline unit measure the cord to determine the direction, speed, and distance of the lead vehicle and relay the data to the unmanned computer system of the follower vehicle. The vehicle control system then plots a course that exactly mimics the lead vehicle's pathway.

Using this Guideline, robotic convoys can be up to (10) vehicles long and travel safely at highway speeds. Guideline is being tested by the US military in active combat zones to protect drivers from roadside explosives or enemy fire.

Guideline was chosen as a finalist from more than 7100 products nominated for this year's Edison Awards™ competition. The ballot of nominees was judged by a panel of more than 3,000 leading business executives including past award winners, academics and leaders in the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, and medical.

"It is an honor for Guideline to be recognized with the Bronze Edison Award," said Torrie. "I think it's a great way to celebrate the hard work and effort that went into this product by our development and software teams. We believe that Guideline is a game-changing innovation with a real ability to save lives."



On May 1-2, more than 3,300 seventh grade students from all over northern Utah arrived at Bridgerland Applied Technology College in Logan, Utah for the 2013 Career Days. Career Days is an annual event designed to introduce middle school students to a variety of career paths available in technology and other trade fields and encourage them to start planning early for higher education. Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) joined with several other technology companies as exhibitors.

"We're always on the lookout for ways we can help our community," said Dru Brown, Marketing Manager at ASI. "Being invited to participate in Career Days was a great opportunity to encourage kids to get advanced education, and we also got to show them how fun technology can be."

Each participating company was encouraged to bring something interactive for students to try out.


ASI brought the Forecast® 3D Laser System, a spinning LIDAR that is normally used for the obstacle detection and avoidance system on autonomous vehicles.

For Career Days, however, Forecast was adapted to scan and generate a 3D map of the exhibit hall. Students enjoyed striking poses in front of Forecast and seeing themselves appear in the 3D output on a video monitor.

"It seems like every time we turn around, we're being reminded that the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world in STEM education," said Brown.

"U.S. students seem to think that STEM courses are boring or too hard, and a lot of kids shy away from them. But events like this let us show kids the possibilities with this type of education. Hopefully we're getting their imaginations going and getting them excited about engineering."


Six months ago, ASI fully adopted AGILE for both software and hardware teams as a way to make processes more efficient and deliver more value to customers. AGILE design processes focus on infusing quality and accountability into development tasks while also giving engineers more flexibility in dealing with unforeseen changes to their original plan.

Richard Netzley, Chief Operations Officer at ASI, recently gave a presentation to a group of masters and doctoral students at Utah State University's Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences department.

The students, who have been focusing on methods of design, invited Netzley to speak on the benefits ASI has seen from AGILE. The following blog describes ASI's AGILE installation and reactions to Richard's presentation.

While most AGILE companies follow a similar framework, the way each company employs AGILE is usually entirely unique to the company. "Each company will really need to take a little different approach and doing so will ensure that the system actually works," said Michael Doxey, ITLS Master's student who was present for the discussion.


ASI AGILE standup meeting
ASI's daily routine now involves AGILE standup meetings

The AGILE development process calls for breaking down large projects into smaller deliverable pieces developed over a short time frame.

The short development periods are called "sprints" or "iterations." With tangible examples at the end of each sprint, customers have an opportunity to provide feedback during the process rather than waiting until the final product is delivered. ASI currently uses two-week sprints with demonstrations concluding each sprint. ASI found that open communication and self-regulation are critical to AGILE. Software and hardware engineers gather for daily standup meetings which provide an open forum to set and discuss daily action plans. According to Netzley, each team member answers three questions:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—March 6, 2013. Guideline® Robotic Convoy System has been named a 2013 Award Finalist by the internationally renowned Edison Awards™. Guideline by Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is a Finalist in the Applied Technologies (Safety) category, one of twelve categories honored by the Edison Awards.

The distinguished awards symbolize the persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring creative minds to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy.

"More than any year, this year's slate of Finalists demonstrate the enormous value of teamwork, experimentation, consumer focus, market awareness and game-changing success," said Frank Bonafilia, Edison Awards' executive director.

"It's exciting to see companies like Autonomous Solutions continuing Thomas Edison's legacy of challenging conventional thinking."

"This is a great honor to be selected as an Edison Award Finalist," said Mel Torrie, CEO of ASI. "Guideline is a simple, but innovative solution to autonomous convoying that will save lives and also increase productivity. We're excited that the Edison Award Panelists also recognized Guideline's benefits and potential."

The ballot of nominees for the Edison Awards is judged by more than 3,000 senior business executives and academics from across the nation whose votes acknowledge the Finalists' success in meeting the award criteria of Concept, Value, Delivery and Impact.


The Panel includes members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), the American Association Advertising Agencies (4As) the Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO), the Design Management Institute (DMI), the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Association of Technology Management & Applied Engineering (ATMAE).

Also on the Panel are hundreds of past Edison Award winners, marketing professionals, scientists, designers, engineers and academics.

Award winners will be announced April 25, 2013, at the Edison Awards Annual Gala, held in the Grand Ballroom at historic Navy Pier in Chicago, IL.

The Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to fostering future innovators.

The 2013 Edison Awards are sponsored by Nielsen, Discovery Communications, Science Channel, and USA Today. For more information about the Edison Awards, Edison Universe and a list of past winners, visit www.edisonawards.com.

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About ASI

For nearly 14 years, ASI has been a world leader in unmanned ground vehicle systems. From their northern Utah headquarters, ASI serves clients in the mining, agriculture, automotive, military, and manufacturing industries with robotic solutions ranging from driver assistance to full, multi-vehicle autonomy. ASI's world-class engineering staff is dedicated to the ideals of innovation, safety, simplicity, and quality.


This video features a Lego Mindstorms creation patterned after Chaos™ High Mobility Robot.

Another Chaos-like design built using Lego Kinect.

Have you heard of LEGO Mindstorms? If not, you're quickly becoming a minority. The popular brand Mindstorms was created by the Denmark-based LEGO Group, taking its purpose of "[engaging] in the development of children's creativity through playing and learning” to an entirely new level. Developed to cultivate the next generation of engineers—or even to get us older folks in touch with our inner child—Mindstorms uses basic robotic software and specialized LEGO parts to enable anyone to build and test robotic creations of all shapes and sizes.


We were reminded of the flexibility of LEGO Mindstorms and the engineering prowess of its customers when we found a pair of YouTube videos that featured Mindstorm (or LEGO Technic) creations inspired by our Chaos™ High Mobility Robot. Chaos is a unique small robot platform that uses four independently rotating track arms to lift itself over all types of obstacles and terrain including rocks, logs and branches, and snow. Check out the very admirable attempts of these LEGO Mindstorm engineers to recreate Chaos!

As a robotics company, we are on the cutting edge of technology development and application. We see hundreds of forms of robotics finding their way into the mainstream: vehicle automation technologies like those found in our own solutions, fully autonomous consumer vehicles like the Google (and soon to be Lexus and Audi) Car, robotic surgery systems, manufacturing/materials handling robots, classroom robots, and even humanoid robots. We applaud LEGO for providing the tools to develop the next generation of engineers and stirring the creativity in us all.