Robotics Engineering Excellence (RE2) has been awarded a contract to provide a dual Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) to the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).

The contract, awarded under the Phase II Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme, requires the company to develop, test and manufacture the dual ARM HDMS to improve explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robot capabilities.

The system is intended to provide increased performance and capability over currently deployed manipulators for both teleoperated and semi-autonomous use on small unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).

Currently, the EOD robotic systems contain a single manipulator to carry out missions such as inspection, detection and neutralisation of explosive devices.

The dual ARM HDMS technology aims to provide the robot operator with improved capabilities such as inspection in tight and cluttered spaces and wire manipulation, unlike the single-manipulator robots which are limited in lifting capacity, reach and dexterity.

Additional capabilities including opening bags or packages, unscrewing container lids and accessing commercial buildings or homes while conducting reconnaissance operations or neutralising domestic bomb threats from a safer distance.

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RE2 president and CEO Jorgen Pedersen said: "These manipulation improvements directly correlate to a reduction in time-on-target and overall mission time, resulting in increased safety of all mission personnel."

The company is also under contract with several branches and organisations of the US military including the Navy, Air Force and DARPA to develop and deliver advanced manipulation systems that can interoperate with current and future robotic platforms.