Small Business Wins ONR Contract to Develop Underwater Dexterous Manipulation System

Original Article: Naval-Technology

Mobile manipulation systems provider RE2 has received a contract from the Office of Naval Research to develop an underwater dexterous manipulation system for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) applications (DMEA). Under this $2.7m contract, RE2 will provide DMEA technology solution to offer EOD personnel with the capability to remotely and effectively address waterborne improvised explosive devices (WIEDs).

RE2 president and CEO Jorgen Pedersen said: “We are honoured that ONR chose RE2 to develop a strong, highly dexterous underwater manipulation system. “We thrive on complex engineering challenges and are excited to leverage our mobile manipulation expertise for the underwater systems market.”

Placed in congested areas, such as bridge pilings, WIEDs are difficult to access and defeat, and create a significant threat to vessels, bridges, and ports. However, RE2’s dual-arm dexterous manipulation technology integrated onto an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) will be capable of carrying out EOD tasks in confined spaces, the company stated. Pedersen added: “We are working with several unmanned underwater systems subject matter experts, including Bluefin Robotics, The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Lab, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, and Dr Hagen Schempf, to ensure the success of the technology and programme.”

In March, RE2 received funding from the US Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) office and US Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) to develop robotic technologies to assist combat medics in the field