PITTSBURGH — The ARM consortium is issuing a call for projects focused on sustainment and maintenance of military systems for the U.S. Department of Defense. It will host a webcast on the call and process for submitting proposals today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Developers at ARM members should register to learn more about robotics in sustainment.
In March, the Defense Department held a Joint Summit hosted by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Tactical Innovation Innovation Lab (TIIL) in Alexandria, Va. The stated goal of the summit was to coordinate systems for maintenance and repair across services.
According to the Pentagon, it “brought together government experts in the engineering and maintenance fields to discuss, identify, and strategize formal and informal approaches to the adoption of robotic solutions to improve materiel readiness.”
The summit looked at the following areas of robotics in sustainment of interest to the DoD:
- Common maintenance functions
- End effectors
- mobility platforms
- Interchangeability capabilities
- Autonomy capabilities
Attendees at that event concluded that it was important for the government to “bring enterprise-level approaches, knowledge, and solutions to solve current and future sustainment challenges.” They recommended a Joint Robotics Organization for Building Organic Technologies (JROBOT) to make automated maintenance and repair of vehicles, tanks, and other systems more consistent, reliable, and cost-effective.
The summit participants agreed to continue meeting in future summits, work with enterprise solutions providers, and “establish a pilot effort based on a ready-to-field solution such as warehouse inventory or [Microsoft] HoloLens-augmented reality training to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) from collaborative approach.”
Robotics in sustainment
At ARM’s member meeting last month, personnel from the DoD received strong interest and decided to proceed with a joint project call. This call is in addition to those ARM has already issued for 2020.
While the different services are finalizing the areas for robotics in sustainment, ARM listed the following preliminary topics:
- Mixed reality for robotic processes
- Swarms for boats, buildings, infrastructure and equipment
- Automated reclamation
- Mobile/autonomous coating applications
- Environmentally hardened snake
The process of selecting and testing projects for robots in sustainment projects be faster than most ARM calls, and the final selections are expected in late February 2020. Details about the project call can be found at ARM’s public website.
ARM, or the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, was founded at Carnegie Mellon University and has received DoD funding. It is a public-private consortium dedicated to improving the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing through the adoption of advanced automation and workforce development.