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Automated Shipboard Build-up of Customized Pallet Loads

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vecna Technologies Inc.
6404 Ivy Lane Suite 500 Greenbelt, MD -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Automated Shipboard Build-up of Customized Pallet Loads
Agency / Branch: DOD / NAVY
Contract: N00014-11-C-0408
Award Amount: $1,250,000.00


This Phase II project intends to develop a mobile automated palletizing robot, the RPR1, that combines a commercial electric pallet truck with a hydraulically powered manipulation platform. Phase I work developed designs for the RPR1 morphology; a preliminary system architecture for automating low-level manipulation and maneuver tasks, pallet assembly planning algorithms for optimal packing configurations that observe fragility and stability constraints, simulation testing of robot morphology suitability for pallet assembly tasks, and preliminary pallet assembly task planning algorithms; and an initial prototype for a computer vision system using 3D color-based visual information to inform manipulation and manuever tasks. Phase II work will implement a semi-autonomous control system that converts high-level operator input into goal-based parameters which inform the automation of low-level robot actuation; design and fabricate the manipulation prototype and integrate it with the electric pallet jack mobility base; and implement vision algorithms for detection and characterization of packages to develop 3D models which are used in manipulation and maneuver tasks.

Principal Investigator:

Andreas Hofmann
VP, Autonomous Solutions
(617) 864-0636

Business Contact:

Michael Bearman
VP/General Counsel
(240) 965-4500
Small Business Information at Submission:

Vecna Technologies Inc.
6404 Ivy Lane Suite 500 Greenbelt, MD -

EIN/Tax ID: 522152399
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No