Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference 2013 GRCC Canceled

grcc 2013 canceledYikes! The NDIA just announced that it canceled the Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference (GRCC) 2013.

In an email dated March 5, NDIA stated:

  “As you may be aware, on January 10, 2013 the Department of Defense issued a memorandum detailing actions to be taken to prepare for drastic budget cuts resulting from sequestration and/or related fiscal challenges. Since then, further government guidance has been released, curtailing all but mission critical travel for government employees, staff, and leaders. This, coupled with the implementation of sequestration on March 1, has rendered the conduct of the planned Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, GA no longer possible. “

Folks at AMREL look forward to this conference every year, so this is pretty disappointing. At past conferences, we discussed OCU and payload solutions with important players from RSJPO, SPAYWAR, NAVSEA, and other key influencers.

“Talking with government and military leaders is important” declared Ron McMahan, AMREL’s Vice President of Engineering Solutions, “However, networking with potential partners in industry is equally significant.”

No unmanned system is an island.  Every deployed system is combination of subsystems, each one often developed by different entities.  GRCC has been a wonderful opportunity to find just the right component and just the right partner.

The exchange of ideas in a person-to person has also been invaluable.  Based on data and concepts gathered at GRCC, AMREL has made significant advances in common control, handheld OCUs, and Multi-robot Operator Control Units (MOCU).

I read a lot of Defense and robotic journals.  However, it wasn’t until I spoke face-to-face to GRCC vendors last year, that I appreciated how the problem of interoperability (spectrum management) is severely adversely affecting Unmanned Ground Vehicles (read my analysis here).

In its email, NDIA indicated that they were looking at alternatives.  I think the unmanned community should step up to the plate. Anyone interested in co-sponsoring a small local networking event?  Maybe, an AUVSI chapter would be interested in staging a regional gathering?  Contact Bill Finn at (626) 443-6818 or billf@amrel.com.