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Robotics

NATO Fishes for Data with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

October 2, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Multiple autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with modern sensors relevant to NATO minehunting missions are being employed at sea during the Multinational AutoNomy Experiment (MANEX ‘14), held September 22 to October 13, 2014, along the Italian coast, between Framura and Bonassola, in the Ligurian Sea.

Multiple Firms Awarded Counter-IED Contracts

September 17, 2014

Advanced Reconnaissance Corporation, Fishkill, New York (W911QX-14-D-0007); Applied Research Associates Incorporated, Albuquerque, New Mexico (W911QX-14-D-0008); A-T Solutions Incorporated, Fredericksburg, Virginia (W911QX-14-D-0009); CyPhy Works Incorporated, Danvers, Massachusetts (W911QX-14-D-0010); EFW Incorporated, Ft. Worth, Texas (W911QX-14-D-0011); L-3 Communications Corporation, Camden, New Jersey (W911QX-14-D-0012); NIITEK Incorporated, Dulles, Virginia (W911QX-14-D-0013); Primal Innovation LLC, Sanford, Florida (W911QX-14-D-0014); QinetiQ Incorporated, Centreville, Virginia (W911QX-14-D-0015); Robo-Team NA Incorporated, Bethesda, Maryland (W911QX-14-D-0016); Advanced Technology Systems Company Incorporated (of Virginia), McLean, Virginia (W911QX-14-D-0017); Applied Research Associates Incorporated, Albuquerque, New Mexico (W911QX-14-D-0018); iRobot Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts (W911QX-14-D-0019); K2 Solutions Incorporated, Southern Pines, North Carolina (W911QX-14-D-0020); Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies L.C., Orem, Utah (W911QX-14-D-0021); QinetiQ Incorporated, Centreville, Virginia (W911QX-14-D-0023); Robo-Team NA Incorporated, Bethesda, Maryland (W911QX-14-D-0024); Stolar Research Corporation, Rio Rancho, New Mexico (W911QX-14-D-0026); Science and Engineering Services LLC, Columbia, Maryland (W911QX-14-D-0025); and Pearson Engineering Ltd., Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain (W911QX-14-D-0022), were collectively awarded a ceiling $49,497,158 indefinite- delivery/indefinite-quantity, multi-year contract for the Army Research Lab/Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization Culvert Denial Challenge program. The contract covers the initial task order challenge event through possible future testing, development and deployment. The Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Micro
 Robotics 
Research Pays Off

September 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army is preparing—for the first time—to develop and field micro robotic systems under programs of record, indicating confidence that the technology has matured and years of research are paying off. The small systems will provide individual soldiers and squads with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in jungles, buildings and caves that larger systems can’t reach.

RoboSubs Transform from Toys to Warfighter Tools

August 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Navy competition launches technology innovation and student careers.

Remotec to Repair and Upgrade Robots

July 30, 2014

Remotec, Clinton, Tennessee, is being awarded an $8,801,324 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for depot level repairs to the MK3 Series Remote Ordnance Neutralization Systems (RONS), and the upgrade and repair of the MK3 Mod 0 to the MK3 Mod 1 System. The MK3 Mod 1 upgrade will improve the serviceability of the robots, increase the availability of the spare parts and increase the capabilities of the robots. In situations where it is economically infeasible to upgrade or repair the MK3 Mod 0 system, the option to purchase a new RONS MK3 Mod 1 for replacement will be available under a new contract. The contract includes a one-year base period with four one-year options, which if exercised, will bring the contract value to $12,355,953. Work will be performed in Clinton, Tennessee, and is expected to be completed by August 2019. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00174-14-D-0027).

U.S. Marines Assess Robotic Systems in Jungle Environment

July 16, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab wraps up experiments testing multiple systems, including robots, radios and ship-to-shore transporters in Hawaii.

U.S. Army Seeks Lightweight Common Robotic System

July 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Responses to request for information are due August 15.

Slowing Down Rapid Acquisition

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

With the war in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. Defense Department’s rapid deployment office, which specializes in identifying, developing and quickly fielding game-changing technologies, now will take a more long-term approach. Slightly stretching out the process will offer more flexibility to procure the best possible systems, will present more opportunities for interagency and international cooperation and may cut costs.

Pockets of Resistance Threaten Robotics Funding

May 22, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Defense Department is failing to invest in game-changing technology that could increase efficiencies and save lives, according to a just-released report from the Center for a New American Security, which also recommends funding more battlefield drones.

Robots Learn With Heads in the Cloud

May 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Researchers working on multiple projects in Europe and the United States are using cloud computing to teach robotic systems to perform a multitude of tasks ranging from household chores to serving hospital patients and flipping pancakes. The research, which one day could be applied to robotic systems used for national defense, homeland security or medical uses, lowers costs while allowing robots to learn more quickly, share information and better cooperate with one another.

Cloud robotics is an emerging research field rooted in cloud computing, cloud storage and other technologies centered around the benefits of converged infrastructure and shared services, according to researchers with the recently completed RoboEarth project, which was funded primarily by the European Commission. Cloud robotics allows robots to benefit from the powerful computational, storage and communications resources of modern data centers. In addition, it lowers costs for maintenance and updates and reduces dependence on custom middleware.

Researchers with the RoboEarth project envision an Internet for robots that will allow systems to share information and learn from each other about their behavior and their environment, paving the way for rapid advances in machine cognition and behavior and, ultimately, for more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction.

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