May 20, 2021

WarehouseDLA400x275Robotic Research has announced it was awarded a contract by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to develop an unmanned autonomous guided vehicle (AGV), which will tow loaded carts inside and outside of warehouses. In addition to supporting potentially more than 570 warehouses across 20 storage sites, a successful deployment could have broader applications in the warehousing and storage sector for commercial and military customers, the company said.

“We are very excited to be developing an AGV for the DLA,” said Alberto Lacaze, co-founder and president of Robotic Research. “Not only would an unmanned tow vehicle save the DLA money, but it would increase safety and efficiency. Conducting autonomous operations in and between warehouses would be a technological first.”

The DLA is looking for an AGV that is rugged, robust, and highly maneuverable, Robotic Research said. The unmanned tug will have to:

  • Tow loads as heavy as 18,000 pounds;
  • Climb steep slopes (12% grade);
  • Turn tight corners;
  • Maneuver safely around people and other vehicles;
  • Brave inclement weather and less-than-ideal road conditions;
  • Operate indoors without GPS guidance.

Robotic Research said it is offering its Stock Handling Autonomous Robotic Kit (SHARK), a platform-agnostic solution that can be fitted to any number of commercially available tow vehicles. SHARK will use artificial intelligence and world modeling, safety-assist features, GPS-denied localization technologies, as well as a variety of sensors (lidar, radar, cameras) to guide the AGV.

“We’ve been the key autonomy provider for numerous military programs,” said Lacaze, “including Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) and Expedient Leader-Follower (ExLF). And our wearable WarLoc device, which has been deployed with Army Brigade Teams, provides GPS-denied localization.”

The company said it has demonstrated vehicle-agnostic automated technology and the ability to operate alongside pedestrian and mixed traffic in the commercial world, operating in more than 30 cities worldwide and with more than 30 different types of vehicles. “Localization and people-avoidance are core AGV requirements,” said Lacaze. “These capabilities, plus our experience with all-weather ‘edge cases,' will be a tremendous asset to the DLA and others.”

Founded in 2002, Robotic Research is a U.S-based developer of localization, autonomy, and robotic technologies, serving groups in the public and private sector. The company recently announced plans to develop an off-road truck platooning system for the Canadian forestry industry, and a self-driving transit bus for New Flyer of America.