REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Teams from around the world are arriving in Alabama to showcase their creativity and technical skills by filling the skies over Decatur and Redstone Arsenal with tiny micro air vehicles during the Spring 2011 International Micro Air Vehicle competition.

Hosted by the Advanced Science and Technology Directorate, this year's competition takes place May 23-27 at Redstone Arsenal, Calhoun Community College and the Alabama Robotics Technology Park.

The flying systems involved in the event must meet stringent standards: weigh less than 5 kilograms and measure no greater than 1 meter in any direction. Control of the air vehicle may be remote, operator control through on board video, or autonomous. There are scoring factors that favor the least amount of direct operator control and input.

Dr. Suzy Young, Director of the ASTD, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, is this year's host and is excited about the opportunity to hold the competition here.

"The annual IMAV conference and flight competition event serves as a platform to exchange information on the state-of-the-art of micro air vehicles. The event is focused upon the development of autonomous controls for very small unmanned aircraft. I have been to several competitions in the United States and overseas and each competition gets better because the competitors improve and try to outdo each other," said Young.

The most recent competition, held in Braunschweig, Germany in July 2010, was hosted by Dr. Peter Vorsmann, Chairman of the International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Flight Competition Program Committee. At this event, 15 teams competed in several events.

"The focus of the conference and flight competition orients primarily on academia. The German Institute of Navigation [Deutsche Gesellschaft fAfA1/4r Ortung und Navigation e.V.] is a member of the IMAV Committee, which invites members from Science, Industry, Military, Government Agencies and Users to participate," said Young.

Two years ago the competition was held in the United States.

"The event was hosted by Eglin AFB in 2009 which established the US as a more permanent partner and we are continuing to build this partnership with Spring IMAV 2011," said Paul DiNardo, Unmanned Systems Concepts Manager, Advanced Science and Technology Directorate.

The competition here in Alabama will follow the IMAV committee's rules but the judges will be looking for something extra.
"There are four standard events in the flight competitions, including a flight dynamics and autonomous event in both the indoor and outdoor flight competitions. Our Spring IMAV 2011 event will add significant rewards for autonomous operations vice remote control or video control," said DiNardo.

The Professional Sessions and the Indoor Flight competition will be held at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park located adjacent to the Calhoun Community College main campus in Decatur, Ala.

According to its website, The Alabama Robotics Technology Park will consist of three individual training facilities each targeted to a specific industry need. The mission of the RTP is to provide a technically trained, highly skilled, and educated workforce for current and future automation and robotics technology, to assist public and private entities in developing new robotics systems and technologies, and to promote the growth and expansion of companies through new robotics technologies.

The outdoor flight competition will be held on Redstone Arsenal.

"Redstone has significant test areas that will provide excellent opportunity for each competing team to demonstrate their systems capabilities," said DiNardo.

For additional information, please visit our website, or friend us on facebook SPRINGIMAV2011.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16