Of note, Leahy projects full year gross margin of 40-41%, vs last quarter's full year guidance of "probably ~40%".
For Spain, now 1 in 3 vacuums sold is a robot, up from 1 in 4; see similar fast developing adoption in other markets such as Italy, Taiwan, Denmark, Israel, and Russia. Reiterate Latin America contributing this year, and material contribution from China in 2013.
Continued defense funding delays in Q2, but expect contracts that will result in strong Q3 & Q4.
Still working on my model, but the big hit is that while G&I's Q4 revenue of $56.3MM was a record, the forecast for 2012 is for G&I revenue of $145-165MM, of which only 30% will be in the first half. Taking a midpoint of $155MM, that means that 1H12 will see only ~$47MM in revenue, whereas 2H12 will see ~$109MM. Naturally, this will make for a difficult 1H12.
I also noticed that foreign military sales continue to be well below expectations ($13.7MM for 2011, vs the 2011 Analyst Day forecast of $23-25MM). Anticipated Middle East sales haven't yet materialized.
OTOH, the Home Robot Division is going strong, with record or near record revenues projected through each quarter of 2012. ASP's remain strong at ~$220/robot, and gross margin remains strong at ~45%.
Using Packbot as a hotspot in Japan was a jury-rig. On the other hand, FirstLook has "digital mesh communications" as part of its design. While I don't see it in the specs, I recall reading somewhere that up to 4 FirstLooks can be daisy-chained to extend communications.
The issue of unreliable communication with the robots in field appears to be a bigger issue than one might think (for example, EOD jammers used to jam cell phone or radio signals to bombs can also interfere with communication with the robots), which is why fiber-optic gets a lot of use.
I could easily see 1 or 2 FirstLooks being standard equipment for each Packbot/SUGV, just to help with this issue.
FBO has just published an urgent Navy request for a few (2-3) SUGV 310s (EOD version) to replace ones lost in combat (also see justification document): https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=36c88f536e8a6b708beb93e087ea1598&tab=core&_cview=0
The SUGVs were lost on 7/18/11; the $640k order for replacements is dated 8/22/11, but was only just published today.
While the order is nice to see and likely fulfilled in Q3, it's a pretty minor thing. However, it strikes me as curious, and as a positive sign that 1) there are apparently few to none "extra" SUGVs in the field, and 2) the loss of even a couple of SUGVs is keenly felt, and the affected unit works hard to get replacements.
I suspect that anyone in the industry with an interest is already well aware of these products.
Dr. Brooks has announced he will be leaving the board of IRobot effective May 25, 2011. "Dr. Brooks’ decision not to stand for re-election did not result from any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices."
He has been busy with his new startup, Heartland Robotics.
Here's a bit of an update:
For information, Dr. Brooks still owns ~575,000 shares of IRobot as of 4/6/2011, and has been selling 4k to 6k shares per week, presumably to help support his new venture.
General overview & discussion of technology, mostly focused on UAV, but noted as being also applicable to UGV.
<<Having said that, a *huge* problem with LIDARS (like RADARs or any other active sensors) in a military environment is that carrying a LIDAR is the same as carrying a homing device for any basic IR-targeted bomb/missile.>>
I am not an expert, but is my understanding from watching the video that ASC's LIDAR creates its maps using low power (a few watts or less) laser pulses of a few nanoseconds duration, at relatively low (~60 Hz) frequency. Any basic IR-targeted bomb/missile is looking for a MUCH brighter heat signature, and seems to me very unlikely that it would ever pick up the LIDAR.
<<Why would iRobot want to replace the proprietary John Deere hardware used on the RGator unless iRobot was planning on doing a version of the RGator alone - either a military version or possibly a commercial version?>>
I think a more likely interpretation is that the Navy boat program is independent of John Deere. Hence, iRobot needed to replace needed to replace the JD hardware originally used for the RGator with something else for use on the boat.
Added to my position as well - never expected to see price in the $16's without significant news.
My new Roomba 570 from Hammacher Schlemmer arrived yesterday (traded in the Scheduler), and it's way cool!
Of investment interest, it has a born-on date of 9/20/07, and the serial number ends in 1003XX (where XX represent two numbers). It departed Ohio on Nov 9, 7 weeks and 1 day from its "birth" in China!
First, making the big assumption of first-in first-out, this does not seem to imply very much inventory in the system, if these are being sent from China by boat.
Second, does anyone know if this implies over 100,000 of this model shipped?