PITTSBURGH - Applied Perception, Inc. (API), a Pittsburgh-based company that develops and licenses robotics-related technologies to market-leading companies in the fields of defense, transportation, and agriculture, announced today that it has completed delivery of high precision waypoint following, obstacle detection and payload interfacing software, computing hardware and sensors for unmanned ground vehicles under the U.S. Army's Family of Integrated Rapid Response Equipment (FIRRE) program.
FIRRE is intended to provide the warfighter with a variety of modular force protection equipment including unmanned air, ground and undersea platforms for sensors, weapons and support or logistics equipment. Utilizing these unmanned platforms to perform tasks currently accomplished by troops, such as perimeter security, helps keep military personnel and supporting civilians out of harm's way, while also serving as a force multiplier by allowing these same troops to focus their time and effort on other strategic and tactical tasks.
API was tapped as a subcontractor on the project to take the lead in Autonomous Navigation System (ANS) sensor computing hardware, and software development and integration. "We are excited to be part of the team responsible for delivering the first autonomous, unmanned ground vehicle scheduled to be deployed in a combat zone," commented Todd Jochem, president of Applied Perception, Inc. "Our approach is to cost-effectively leverage existing technology developed on other DoD and internal programs to quickly present hardened capabilities for high-precision waypoint following and obstacle detection in harsh desert environments."
Jochem singled out API's use of COTS software, sensors and computing platforms as the key to the FIRRE project; many of these technologies were first developed under API's Phase I, II, and III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) projects. "Our SBIR programs laid the groundwork for our participation in the FIRRE program," added Jochem. "This is exactly the outcome the DoD wants from their SBIR program -- to get innovative small business involved in the development process and quickly and effectively transition the developed technologies to deployment. From contract to delivery was less than 9 months."
Since its founding in 2001, API has rapidly evolved from a primarily research-based entity to a leading robotic component and system integration company. Recognized as an industry leader in sensor integration and UGV software development, API boasts a diverse customer base within the U.S. government and participates as a prime contractor for most of these projects. In addition, three members of API's management team serve on the JAUS committee, two of them as committee chairs, and provide expertise both at the software and strategic levels.
API is a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman's Remotec, Inc. subsidiary, which is providing a modified Tactical Amphibious Ground Support (TAGS) vehicle as the main unmanned ground platform to the FIRRE program and the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), which served as the technical lead for the US Army.