AutomationDirect Assists Team Buffalo In 2005 DARPA Challenge

Team Buffalo, a small group of highly talented individuals skilled in bringing abstract technical visions from conception to reality, has committed to participating in a Defense Department research and development initiative aimed at advancing robotics technologies for future military use. The initiative, known as the DARPA Grand Challenge, is a field test of fully autonomous ground vehicles to be conducted in the Mojave Desert on October 8, 2005 . The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering a $2 million prize to the vehicle that completes the course the fastest within a 10-hour period. The 2005 event will be the second DARPA Grand Challenge. So far, 136 teams have successfully completed the application process to compete in the 2005 event.

AutomationDirect is providing Team Buffalo with all the necessary PLC equipment, controls and most of the sensors for their entry in the DARPA Grand Challenge. The equipment will be installed on the A.N.T (Autonomous Non-manned Transport), which started life as a 2005 four-wheeled ATV (all terrain vehicle).

Team Buffalo had been in discussions with several other PLC manufacturers, however AutomationDirect was the only one that was willing to make a firm commitment to Team Buffalo with a concrete ship date. Team Buffalo received their first shipment of PLC equipment from Automation Direct in mid-February. Team Leader Mark Schwartz said “This is great, we couldn’t be happier with the service and dedication provided by AutomationDirect. It’s no wonder they were voted #1 in customer service. Everything was shipped right on schedule. No unpleasant surprises, no missed ship dates and no hassles!”

For more information on the Grand Challenge, visit .

Watch for a full-length article on Team Buffalo’s progress in the next issue of Automation Notebook.

 AutomationDirect Exhibits At National Manufacturing Week In Chicago

AutomationDirect exhibited in the Industrial Automation show at National Manufacturing Week for the second year in a row March 7-10. The 2,000 square foot booth consisted of displays featuring industrial control products and an “Automation I.Q. Challenge”. The Challenge consisted of three interactive equipment stations designed to test basic knowledge of PLCs, HMI and AC drives. The panels were built and programmed by BizWareDirect, whose DataLynx data collection software extracted the test data via wireless modem, and then compiled and displayed the scores. Almost 200 attendees participated, with the high scorer each day winning a Laser Tool Kit. Also, AutomationDirect’s upcoming products were displayed upstairs on the second floor.

Editor’s Choice Award For The H2ebc/Ecom100 Ethernet Modules

AutomationDirect received a 2004 Control Engineering Editors’ Choice Award for the H2-EBC and ECOM 100 Ethernet modules, presented at an awards ceremony during National Manufacturing Week in Chicago. This award represents the opinions of the editors that the products are among the most significant innovations featured in Control Engineering magazine during the past year. These modules bring high-speed 100Mbit Ethernet-based data exchange for I/O control or peer networking among DL205 PLCs.