Pittsburgh-based Applied Perception Inc. was awarded a $1 million Phase II Plus Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the Dept. of Defense. The company, an offshoot of Carnegie Mellon University, develops and licenses robotics-related technologies in defense, transportation, and agriculture industries.

The program will adapt and integrate the company's proprietary outdoor mobile-robot technology to comply with the Dept. of Defense Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) for use on patient evacuation, sentry/ reconnaissance, and other related military tasks.

Currently, the Phase II program uses a novel marsupial robotic-vehicle pair for a complete wounded-soldier recovery system, from patient detection to extraction to evacuation.

The funding will also let the team design and build a marsupial vehicle pair dedicated to the program. Previously, only surrogate or loaner vehicles were used. Also, specialized sensors and software will be integrated into the sentry/reconnaissance tasks to develop a specific multirobot command and control scheme.

“This additional funding will let us field a complete system; one which medics and other military personnel can evaluate and test for long durations under field conditions,” says Todd Jochem, founder and president of API. “It's the first step in advancing the technology toward deployment, which is our goal,” he adds.