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Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

USSOCOM Awards Contract to Sarcos Robotics for Delivery of Full-Body, Autonomously Powered Robotic Exoskeleton

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY and BELLEVUE, Wash. – March 18, 2019 – Today, Sarcos Robotics, a global leader in robotic systems that augment, rather than replace humans working in the industrial, public safety and military sectors, announced that it has been awarded a contract by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to deliver a pre-production version of its Guardian™ XO® (“XO”) full-body, autonomously powered robotic exoskeleton. The XO is capable of operating for up to eight hours per battery charge, while walking at three miles per hour and carrying up to 200 pounds of payload. With the ability to “hot swap” rechargeable batteries in the field, XO run-time is essentially unlimited.

The USSOCOM XO contract follows Sarcos’ recent announcements regarding collaborations with both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy to develop and evaluate variations of the Guardian™ XO® for use cases specific to these services. With 17 years of development efforts and more than $175 million invested in R&D, Sarcos has been laser-focused on ensuring the Guardian XO Max is safe, intuitive and power efficient. Sarcos recently shared significant power and performance enhancements to the XO, including significant improvements in power consumption, control system functionality and load transfer.

Soldier Center Partners with Industry Experts to Advance Exoskeleton Technologies

Monday, February 4th, 2019

NATICK, Mass. — David Audet, chief of the Mission Equipment and Systems Branch in the Soldier Performance Optimization Directorate, at the Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Soldier Center, is gearing up his team for the next User Touch Point activities to explore exoskeleton options later this month.

“As we explore the more mature exoskeleton options available to us and engage users, the more we learn about where the possible value of these systems is to Army operations,” said Audet.

“Before the Army can consider investing in any development above what industry has done on their own, we need to make sure that users are on board with human augmentation concepts and that the systems are worth investing in. The Army is not ready yet to commit. NSRDEC [RDECOM Soldier Center] has a lead role in working with PEO-Soldier and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, to determine whether or not a longer-term investment in fielding new technologies is justifiable. But this is what we do best. We find the options and create the partnerships to help us figure it out.”

Recent media has brought a lot of attention to the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Controls, or LMMFC, ONYX, a Popular Science award recipient for 2018.

As innovative as it is, and with all the attention on the Soldier Center’s $6.9 million Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) award, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose perspective of the overall work the Soldier Center is actually doing.

Out of the 48-month phased effort, roughly $680K has been put on the LMMFC OTA — currently focused on having enough systems to take to the field for operational evaluation. Although performing, the technology has yet to prove itself in a full operational exercise before moving forward. And while LMMFC is highly confident in their product and continues to invest their funding on further developing the system for commercial use, the Soldier Center is also looking at other technologies.

Located in Maynard, Massachusetts, Dephy, Inc.’s ExoBoot is another entrant in the program. The Dephy ExoBoot is an autonomous foot ankle exoskeleton that was inspired by research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under collaboration with the Army. It is currently under consideration for evaluation during the third and fourth quarter of 2019. Brigadier General David M. Hodne has worn the ExoBoot during Soldier Center program updates and is quite intrigued by the capability. User feedback will determine if both systems move forward and under which considerations.

“Under ideal conditions, we would favor a full development effort,” said Audet. “However, given the push for rapid transition and innovation, we can save the Army a lot of time and money by identifying and vetting mature technologies, consistent with the vision of the Army Futures Command, or AFC.

“In order to achieve the goal of vetting and providing recommendations, NSRDEC [the Soldier Center] and PEO-Soldier are strong partners, teamed up to work with third party independent engineering firms such as Boston Engineering out of Waltham, Massachusetts. The engineering analysis of systems will provide an unbiased system-level analysis of any of the technologies under consideration, following rigorous analysis of the capabilities as they exist, the operational parameters provided by users and assessment of how humans will use and interact with the systems.”

“We are confident products will succeed or – at a minimum – fill a gap we have not been able to address by any other materiel or training means,” said Audet.

“We will be prepared to transition, but we know there is a road ahead before we get there. We aren’t committing to anything more than to bring the systems to a demonstration and educate the community at large on what these preliminary technologies can offer. In the meantime, we add a layer of third party independent analysis as a reassurance policy that we are mitigating bias and staying laser focused on user needs and meeting the demands of the future warfighting landscape.”

Check Out The Latest From Safran Optics1 At SHOT Show

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Rheinmetall Mission Master dominates European ground robotic systems competition at ELROB 2018

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

At the end of September, and for the first time, Rheinmetall took part in ELROB with its unmanned multi-mission “Mission Master” vehicle. At Europe’s largest exhibition for military ground robotics, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master team entered the fray, taking on a number of competing teams. Made by Rheinmetall Canada, the cargo version of this versatile vehicle turned in a particularly compelling performance in the “Mule” category.

In all, six teams took part in this competition category. Mules are essentially automated pack animals – autonomous transport vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads and equipment. They had to handle two scenarios. The teams each had thirty minutes to cover a 1,400 m-long route with their mule. During the first run, Rheinmetall impressed the crowd with an impressive performance. Then, following the second, came the gratifying result; despite competing for the first time, the Rheinmetall Mission Master clearly dominated the contest, scoring 3,151 points, twice as many as the robotic vehicle that took second place (1,547 points), and way ahead of the one that came in third (167 points).

The Mission Master: modular, adaptable, flexible – a combat effectiveness multiplier for soldier systems

The cargo version of the Mission Master was exhibited to a large group of defence specialists for the first time at Eurosatory 2018. Rheinmetall developed this variant to reduce the combat load carried by troops in the field, contributing to faster movement and greater operational efficiency. Rheinmetall’s new robotic vehicle can operate in hazardous, difficult-to-reach terrain, in turn contributing to the survivability and protection of troops deployed in harm’s way.

Moreover, the Mission Master can be networked with advanced soldier systems such as Future Soldier – Expanded System, Gladius 2.0 or Argus. In Rheinmetall’s “System Infanterie”, the Mission Master serves as a force multiplier for infantry sections or squads equipped with Rheinmetall’s Future Soldier – Expanded System technology. Fully networked with dismounted combat troops, it not only takes a weight not only off the soldiers’ shoulders, it also relieves the pressure on military leaders.

Characterized by extreme flexibility, the Rheinmetall Mission Master can be quickly configured for a multitude of different missions thanks to modular, easy-to-install build-ons. Its mission capabilities include logistics, surveillance, force protection, evacuation of wounded personnel, firefighting and CBRN reconnaissance. It can also serve as a radio relay station. Speed, scalable autonomy and proven mobility in all types of terrain make the Mission Master a strong and dependable comrade for small combat units.

www.rheinmetall.com

Natick’s Exoskeleton Work is a Powerful Step Toward the Future of Soldier Lethality

Friday, October 19th, 2018

NATICK, Mass. — With exoskeleton technology, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, is helping Soldiers to step into future.

The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is working with Lockheed Martin Space and Missile on a human augmentation system prototype. Trademarked under the name “ONYX,” the system is a powered, knee-based, mobility enhancing device that shows great potential for allowing Soldiers to stay in contact while maintaining peak performance longer, with equal or increased warfighting power. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo by Lockheed Martin Space and Missile)

Soldiers are the most important, effective platform in the U.S. Army. In finite quantity, these warfighters are being asked to move farther, faster, and carry larger loads — all while performing under harsh and challenging conditions. Responding to the Army Chief of Staff and the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team, NSRDEC awarded an “Other Transaction Agreement” for a human augmentation system prototype to Lockheed Martin Space and Missile, or LMCO.

Trademarked under the name “ONYX,” the system is a powered, knee-based, mobility enhancing device that shows great potential for allowing Soldiers to stay in contact while maintaining peak performance longer, with equal or increased warfighting power.

The NSRDEC’s exoskeleton effort will initially focus on the challenges faced by Army Close Combat Forces, validating their needs with data from ongoing combat operations, reports, user focus groups and validation Table Top Exercises.

Understanding that 90 percent of casualties since WWII are from the Close Combat Force, the Army Chief of Staff has directed that one of his strategic focus areas emphasizes improving the lethality, maneuverability, mobility and survivability of the Army’s most valuable asset — the individual combatant. The Army seeks to cover more ground with fewer forces through strategic systems that integrate innovative technological concepts such as exoskeletons, other worn advanced capabilities, and tactics.

Working with NSRDEC leads, the LMCO ONYX team will integrate user-based feedback into the new design and improved system performance and deliver demonstration-ready prototypes in FY19.

By NSRDEC Public Affairs

Aquabotix Joins Information Warfare Research Project Consortium

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

• Aquabotix becomes a member of the Information Warfare Research Project (“IWRP”) consortium.

• Will gain access to the US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Other Transaction Authority agreement, valued at US$100 million.

• A faster path to contracting with the U.S. Government. 

UUV Aquabotix Ltd (ASX:UUV) (the “Company” or “Aquabotix”) is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a member of the Information Warfare Research Project consortium (“IWRP” or the “Consortium”), a consortium focused on advancing information warfare capabilities to enhance United States Navy and United States Marine Corps mission effectiveness.

Aquabotix was approved to join IWRP as a demonstrated technology leader with competencies in autonomy, assured communications, and battlespace awareness – all key focus areas for the consortium. As a member of IWRP, Aquabotix will gain access to US Space and Naval Warfare (“SPAWAR”) Systems Command’s Other Transaction Authority (“OTA”) agreement previously awarded to the Consortium. The aggregate amount of this particular OTA across the Consortium is US$100 million over the next three year period, and the OTA will be used as a vehicle to advance information warfare technologies and innovation delivery to the U.S. fleet. The OTA enables the Consortium members to engage in a broad range of activities advancing such technologies and allows for the delivery of new technology faster and more efficiently than traditional U.S. federal acquisition requirements might permit.

In a release made last month by the United States Navy, Rear Adm. C.D. Becker, commander of SPAWAR Systems Command was quoted as stating, “The IWRP OTA will accelerate acquisition and bring non-traditional sources, research and development labs, and industry together to provide new, innovative information warfare solutions.” SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic Deputy Executive Director, Bill Deligne, was also quoted remarking on the use of OTAs, stating, “This mechanism is faster and more attuned to getting something quickly that we want today, as opposed to traditional federal acquisition. […] While speed is a critical element, reaching beyond the traditional DoD industrial base, further into the commercial sector to capture new, innovative solutions, is also a key element of the IWRP.”

Whitney Million, Chief Executive Officer of Aquabotix commented, “It is a privilege to be joining other industry leaders in the IWRP. We anticipate participation in this consortium will provide access to key partners and customers while enabling rapid research and prototyping using non-dilutive funding options under the OTA to support our goal of continuing to develop innovative and leading-edge solutions and product offerings for the U.S. and allied governments.”

Scorpion MKIV-A Available For Sale

Monday, June 18th, 2018

4×4 magazine called the Scorpion, the ultimate off-road vehicle.

This Scorpion was built for the DARPA Grand Challenge and also competed in the DARPA Urban Challenge. It has performed proof of concept demonstrations for the military and is currently Preferred Chassis Fabrication’s show vehicle. The MKIV-A can be purchased in its current robotic configuration or PCF will convert it to conventional human drive.

For info and pricing email sales@preferredchassis.com.

Persistent Systems, LLC to Provide Network Technology for Endeavor Robotics’ $10M Order from USMC

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Wave Relay® MANET developer will support Endeavor’s award by providing radio network for FirstLook® Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)
New York, N.Y. – June 12, 2018Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), developer of the Wave Relay® mobile ad hoc network (MANET), announced that they will supply radio network technology and systems for Endeavor Robotics’ recently announced order from the U.S. Marine Corps. Under the $10 million award, Endeavor will provide the Marines with its FirstLook UGV, a five-pound, ruggedized surveillance robot supported by the Wave Relay® MANET.

Persistent will provide the secure, long-range IP connectivity between Endeavor’s UGV and its uPoint® Multi-Robot Control System, supporting command and control, video, and the transmission of other critical sensor data. The FirstLook robot is often used to clear buildings and see into deep tunnels, crawl spaces, and other complex environments where the Wave Relay® MANET uses 3×3 MIMO technology to route data around those obstacles for increased throughput and maximized network performance.

“We appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with Endeavor Robotics and support the Marine Corps by providing a reliable network connection to their UGV platforms, allowing Marines to assess and neutralize dangerous situations from a safe distance,” said Herb Rubens, CEO of Persistent Systems. Persistent has previously supported the U.S. Marine Corps with communications and situational awareness exercises using the MPU5 radio and Wave Relay® MANET.

“Superior radio communications are key to FirstLook’s mission success,” said Sean Bielat, Endeavor Robotics CEO. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Persistent as we work together to build dependable robotic systems for the Marines.”