Sarcos Defense, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, announced on October 13 that the company has been awarded a contract by the Office of Naval Research to develop a remote-controlled variant of the upper-body of the innovative Sarcos Guardian® XO® wearable exoskeleton robot.
The new, platform-agnostic, upper-body variant will be adapted to attach to a variety of mobile bases, such as wheeled or tracked vehicles that can operate at height. These include boom lifts, scissor lifts, and bucket trucks to address maintenance and logistics needs.
The Guardian® DX defense robot variant and the Guardian® XT commercial robot have been designed to perform difficult tasks in dangerous environments while keeping the operator safe and out of harm’s way.
This contract award follows last week’s contract between Sarcos Defense and the U.S. Air Force to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) system that would enable robotic platforms, like the Guardian DX robot, to learn how to perform tasks with human-like movement through positive reinforcement and imitation machine learning technologies, known as Cybernetic Training for Autonomous Robots (CYTAR™). The CYTAR system is developed to augment rather than replace humans by reducing the system operator’s cognitive load for basic tasks, yet still relying on human intelligence, judgment, instincts, and reflexes to manage more complex tasks.
Examples of Guardian DX tasks include the use of portable sensors for non-destructive structural testing and inspections, the use of portable power tools for grinding, cutting and welding at height, as well as lifting and manipulating heavy components weighing up to 200 lbs.
The Guardian DX robot is kinematically equivalent to the upper body of humans, allowing operators to manage it intuitively at typical human speeds by relying on their reflexes, instincts, and judgment to perform complex tasks.
The Guardian XT commercial robot version is expected to begin shipping to industrial customers in late 2021.