One project developed by a graduate student in CSOIS dealt with tele-presence over the Internet. This student, George Powell, went on to form a company, Visionary Products, Inc. or VPI for short. VPI's partnered with the Lego Company and The Planetary Society to develop their first product, a robotic kit called Red Rover, Red Rover, targeted as an educational product for middle schools and using Powell's internet tele-presence ideas. VPI continues today as a successful engineering services firm.
After three different contracts and work on automating two different tractors, with a final focus on an autonomous orchard spraying application, one of the technologies developed for John Deere was ready for commercialization. Autonomous Solutions, Inc., was formed for this purpose. About ten CSOIS employees joined the company under the direction Mel Torrie, who had received his MS degree a few years earlier, working on one of the INEEL projects under Bob Gunderson's direction. Today ASI has over twenty employees and several million dollars/year in contracts from a variety of customers.