Pittsburgh-based RE2 Robotics says that it received a $2.9 million phase III small business innovation research award to develop a drop-in robotic kit, which will enable the U.S. Air Force to use existing construction ground vehicles as robotic vehicles during clean-up efforts after an airfield strike.
Currently, most robotic kits require intrusive fitting into electronic systems within a vehicle, thus requiring long installation times and limiting future manned operation of the equipment.
Whereas, RE2 is developing a new drop-in system that can provide real-time switching between manned and remotely manned operation of large construction vehicles found within the civil engineering toolbox, such as wheeled loaders and telehandlers. The objective is to develop an in-cab telepresence solution that will adapt to a variety of operation requirements depending upon the type of vehicle, the firm said in a statement.
The program, called Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery-Teleoperated (RADR-T), is the company’s second program with the Air Force to develop a drop-in robotic system to enhance the capabilities of existing military-owned vehicles.
“The RADR-T program utilizes our team’s expertise in developing manipulation systems for existing military assets and establishes the company as a leading provider of drop-in robotic kits,” stated Jorgen Pedersen, the CEO of RE2 Robotics.
“By creating the capability to easily turn construction vehicles into robotic systems without losing the integrity of the original man-drive vehicle, the personnel responsible for conducting the dangerous mission of airfield damage recovery will soon have the ability to perform their jobs at a safe distance, when necessary.”