RE2 wins small business grant to develop agile UGVs

Published 1 February 2007

Robotics company known for its SHERPA platform will create a speedy unmanned ground vehicle with a manipulator arm; military has long desired a combination of swiftness and technical prowess; Foster-Miller and Exponent lend a hand

We like unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) — especially when they have sensors attached — but in writing about them we sometimes overlook the varied nature of the machines across the industry. On the one hand, some are extremely fast and suited for reconnaisance missions. On the other are those cumbersome drones that, as mentioned above, carry complex testing and inspection systems. Creating a swift but technically capable UGV has long been on the Army’s wish list, and in order to advance this goal the DoD announced this week that it had granted a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program grant to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Robotics Engineering Excellence (RE2).

Under the contract, the company — a spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University known for its emphasis on JAUS software — will develop a small, speedy, yet highly-maneuverable UGV with a manipulator arm. No doubt, the company’s experience developing the SHERPA UGV platform will prove valuable in the effort, but so too will the assistance of Foster-Miller and Exponent, its partners in the DoD project. Foster-Miller, we should note, is well known for its TALON UAV platform, and Exponent is the company behind the MARCbot robots currently on inspection duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sounds like quite a team.

-read more in this company news release