RE2, Inc. awarded Phase II Army SBIR to develop robotic door-opening technology for UGVs
RE2, Inc., a leading developer of intelligent modular manipulation systems, announced today that it has been competitively selected by the US Army Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) for the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop a Robotic Door-opening Kit (RDK) for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs).
"We were pleased to learn that the Army „Fast-Tracked‟ our RDK SBIR into a Phase II based on its applicability to both the military and the domestic first responder market," stated Dr. Patrick Rowe, vice president of research and development for RE2. "Our door-opening end-effector technology will be useful for tactical operations within buildings and for vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detection and defeat."
The goal of the RDK technology is to decrease mission duration of UGVs performing urban reconnaissance operations by providing these robots with the ability to autonomously open doors and enter buildings or rooms. The modularity and interoperability of the RDK will allow it to be easily integrated onto the manipulator arms of next generation robotic systems as well as currently fielded UGVs as an upgrade kit, providing a low-cost, autonomous door-opening solution for the military‟s existing fleet of robots.
The primary objective for the Phase II RDK project is to develop, implement, and test the hardware and software technologies that are required for autonomous door-opening by a mobile robot. The Phase II effort will culminate with a live demonstration of a mobile robot with advanced door-opening manipulation capabilities. The goal of this demonstration will be for the robot to approach a closed door, open it, and successfully move through the doorway, all without human control or intervention.
Dr. Rowe continued, "The RDK is a dual-use technology that could be utilized for a variety of military reconnaissance missions requiring entrance into and within buildings by mobile robots, and for civilian uses such as tactical law enforcement/SWAT, security, delivery, maintenance, and human assistive applications."
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