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AUSC Companies Receive Innovation Reward

New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) Program enables small businesses to receive assistance with technical challenges, and grants them access to Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories experts.

Alamogordo, NM – Emerging Technology Ventures (ETV) Inc., in collaboration with Autonomous and Unmanned Systems Cluster (AUSC) members: Silent Falcon UAS Technologies, American Lithium Energy Corporation, North Alabama Robotics System, Inc. (NARS), and Motion Picture Marine were honored as an Outstanding Innovation in 2016 for the Smart Battery Manager project. The cooperation of each of these organizations merited the New Mexico Angels and NMSBA to award the team the Honorable Speaker Ben Luján Award for Small Business Excellence for demonstrating the greatest economic impact.

Combined, these companies help to create the Autonomous and Unmanned Systems Cluster (AUSC) designated by the US Small Business Administration as a regional innovation cluster which focuses on the start-up and growth of small businesses in high tech industries. The collaborative energy of the cluster has provided a strong foundation for these companies to work together on projects and the Smart Battery Manager was no exception.

“When the Autonomous and Unmanned Systems Cluster was established by the SBA, we knew it would be a key element to the continued growth and development of this industry not only in southeastern New Mexico, but across the country through strategic relationships with other SBA clusters. For the Smart Battery Manager project through the NMSBA program, we were thrilled to have the innovation capacity built for so many cluster participants through one leveraged program,” said Cliff Hudson, ETV CEO.

Through the NMSBA program, the AUSC companies joined forces with battery, electrical and software experts at Sandia National Laboratories to develop a technology capable of monitoring the health of battery packs for a variety of unmanned vehicles. Sandia worked to advance the battery-monitoring electronics and advanced algorithms that could be embedded within the battery’s hardware. These updates, as well as software improvements on operator communication within the program, allow users to monitor battery condition and historical data supporting the safe and reliable operations of autonomous and unmanned systems.

With the global market expected to reach $4 billion in the unmanned vehicles industry by 2020, these advances on the smart battery manager projects are critical for ensuring the AUSC companies remain competitive in the industry. Enabling unmanned vehicles to plan complicated and involved missions with more advanced battery power and operations positions the cluster organizations to continue to lead the industry in growth. As word has spread regarding this technology, the AUSC companies have received $2 million in new investments and plan to add as many as nine new employees during the next year.

Through strategic partnerships since ETV’s inception, the small business located in Southern New Mexico has aligned with the U.S. Small Business Administration, NASA, as well as local and regional organizations enabling the company to see continued growth and development. They operate the Autonomous and Unmanned Systems Cluster through the SBA, which focuses on the start-up and growth of small businesses in these industries in southeastern NM and throughout the country.