Robotics system integrator advances 3 military projects

06/08/2006


Universal robot controllers, learning and passive sensing for ground robotics, and a small robotics toolkit are among recently announced U.S. military projects for which Ap-plied Perception Inc. (API) is prime contractor. The Pittsburgh, PA-based company de-velops and licenses robotics-related technologies to companies in defense, transporta-tion, and agriculture.

Soldier Universal Robot Controller (SURC): For the U.S. Army Research Labs, API be-gan in December 2004 to develop a set of modular technologies to enable one soldier to task and command multiple robots of different types. API was recently awarded Phase II of this program to continue work and develop a functional prototype for Army evaluation. Integrated SURC technologies include standard software interface, a multi-modal user interface joystick, XML-based API and architecture, a modular front end, and tactical and transport capabilities.

Learning Applied to Ground Robotics (LAGR): Applied Perception leads a team funded by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) working on robotic navi-gation that uses real-time machine learning, passive sensing technologies, stereo and monocular cameras, GPS, and inertial sensing.

Small Robotic Tool Kit (SRTK): API is developing a low-cost suite of tools for U.S. Army TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) for un-manned ground vehicles (UGVs). Technologies integrated into the toolkit include ma-nipulators, operator control units (OCUs), and alternative communications.

Todd Jochem, API president says, the company’s goal is to “become a key partner in the design and manufacture of unmanned ground vehicles, and we are well on our way as we have the ability to manage and integrate all the necessary components.” API was founded in 2001 by graduates of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and is focused on developing and licensing UGV-related technologies through system integra-tion, computer software, sensors, and electrical, mechanical, and communication tech-nologies.

API home page includes scrolling images of some robotic vehicles and links to more in-formation about products, services, and projects.

For more about DARPA, read “ Yes, robot cars!

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief





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