Stratom Inc., a developer of autonomous ground vehicles and robots for logistics and defense operations, today announced the launch of its Summit Off-Road Autonomy Platform. The Boulder, Colo.-based company said its modular software can be easily customized for various vehicles, applications, and environmental conditions.
“Successfully developing off-road unmanned vehicles since 2012, Stratom understands that the right autonomous solutions can boost operating efficiency, safety, and profitability,” said Mark Gordon, president and CEO of Stratom. “With Summit, Stratom is eliminating the barriers to entry for those industries that have been held back due to cost and resource limitations or challenging terrain and environments.”
“For these organizations, it is now possible to easily implement a customized autonomous system that will offload monotonous, difficult, or dangerous tasks, freeing up people to focus on what people do best,” he added.
Stratom has developed autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and systems for cargo movement, refueling, and hazardous liquid transfer for military use and is actively commercializing its technologies. The service-disabled veteran-owned small business said it applies its team's expertise in research and development, engineering, and systems integration to solve each customer's specific problems.
Stratom Summit builds on behaviors
Stratom said its new software includes the Summit Core framework and Summit Behaviors, which include preset behaviors such as perception, route planning, and accessory control. The company's team also provides Summit Services to implement and optimize systems, including any necessary hardware, sensing, and computing components.
“A lot of our Core stack is based on previous vehicles. Summit is unique in its focus for off-road autonomy, but we also have many setups indoors,” Gordon told Robotics 24/7. “Users can swap out different behaviors, such as identifying cargo and picking it up, or picking up a log, moving dirt, or pulling something with a tractor.”
How much customization is necessary? “It will vary by customer platform and needs,” replied Gordon. “The vehicle and the task will drive how many sensors they need and where they're placed. It's a collaboration between the Summit Core software, Behaviors for driving vehicles, and Services to integrate and manage autonomy.”
“Sensor fusion is important, and navigation and waypoint actions are within Summit Core,” said Andrew Lycas, principal roboticist at Stratom. “We want to understand the vehicle state and objects in varied environments. It's then up to the users to determine how much they're willing to spend on cameras, radar, lidar, or ultrasonic. We're equipment-neutral, focusing on common interfaces to have modules switch in and out.”
“Safety is paramount for all these things to avoid damage or injury,” he said. “We understand the need to strike a balance between the need to operate at speed, safety, and perception algorithms. It's important to have emergency stops and recognize when there are faults in hardware or software. When switching back and forth between manual and autonomous operations, we make sure that the vehicle vitals say it's an OK time or have it go into a safe state.”
Statom works to enable developers
Stratom said Summit builds on its off-road and complex terrain experience to support the mining, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing industries, among others. The company said its platform's open architecture and integrated design allow it to work and communicatee with existing systems. It added that Summit also enables rapid deployment and scalability for future needs.
“Designing an autonomous system from scratch is not realistic for most organizations, which is why Stratom invested thousands of hours of system development time and resources creating the Summit platform — so you don’t have to,” Lycas said. “We make it possible to easily upgrade or implement a new autonomous system of vehicles, machinery, or robotics for outdoor and off-road applications in the most easy and efficient way possible, now and as your needs evolve.”
“We're ready to engage with customers now,” Gordon noted. “As we work with customers, we use our messaging system to easily integrate into their mission-planning software.”
Stratom has updated its central messaging framework from ROS (the Robot Operating System) to ROS 2, according to Lycas.
Stratom at AUVSI Xponential
Stratom is exhibiting at Booth 1636 at AUVSI Xponential this week in Orlando, Fla. The company will show Summit and its autonomous ground systems for material movement and resupply that use AMRs and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).
“We have plenty of experience with the DoD [U.S. Department of Defense]; we're looking to expose ourselves to more commercial users, such as in utilities or logistics yards,” said Gordon.
In addition, Lycas will lead a session entitled “Beyond the Warehouse: A Practical Approach to Taking Autonomy Off Road” on Tuesday, April 26, at 3:40 p.m. (EST) in Room S220B.
Stratom will also show its Stratom Rapid system, which includes an autonomous ground vehicle refueling (AGVR) prototype and a robotic remote refueling point (AR3P) for aviation. It is a finalist in the AUVSI XCELLENCE in Technology Awards for Rapid.
“We're really excited to release Summit at AUVSI, the biggest show for autonomous systems, and to see how the awards go,” said Gordon.
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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