The UUVS annual show provided an excellent forum for the ROV and AUV industries to discuss the latest advancements in technology and its application. Each year, a strong technical programme organised by the Underwater Robotics Group of the Society for Underwater Technology has helped to attract the leading manufacturers and sensor providers to this show, but a busy and competitive conference and exhibition schedule has had a significant impact on the number of visitors to the show. To realise the full potential of the conference, organisers Reed Exhibitions and SUT were, at the time of the event, in discussions on the most beneficial way to take the conference forward.
As a possible farewell to Southampton, this year's event proved to be more than apt. The conference programme, which was chaired by Jim Mann, delivered some great presentations. The keynote talks opened with a market analysis of UUV Technology provided by Bill Donaldson of Quest Offshore. Colin Manson of DSTL provided an insight into the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence strategy. This was followed by Tom Altshuler, who shared the Teledyne Webb Research underwater glider offering with the audience. The remainder of the afternoon continued with the SUT's highly popular Gadgets and Widgets and a strong overview of the latest advances into ROV technology. Day one of the conference came to a close with Donald Faulds' great workshop on how to interface subsea sensors and actuators to ROVs and AUVs.
UUVS has always presented one of the best forums for members of the UUV industry to network, with the annual Gala Dinner largely responsible for this. This year the dinner took place shortly after the close of day one at the Dockgate 4 bar & grill, which is located in the former ballroom of the South Western Hotel. The dinner was attended by most of the exhibitors and delegates and superseded expectations as a networking evening.
Day two of the conference continued where the previous day had left off. The morning forum provided an overview of military uses for UUVs. The next session ‘broke the ice' for discussions on AUV technology when ISE's Tristan Crees delivered a talk on the use of AUVs for under ice Arctic operations that had the attendees buzzing. The event closed with an opportunity for academia to show off the latest advances and research within the industry.
The future of UUVS was a prominent topic of discussion this year, with speculation that it will be held parallel to the biannual Oceanology International. Whatever the fate of UUVS, 2010, although low in numbers, remained consistently high in quality and value.