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The Unstructured Robotics Company, formerly known as PickNik Robotics, a developer of robotic arm software solutions, and Motiv Space Systems, a designer and manufacturer of space-rated robotic systems, motor controllers, and mechanisms, are co-developing advanced robotics for space applications. The partnership aims to advance In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities through the integration of MoveIt Studio for robot arm control and Motiv’s xLink robot arm product line.
The Unstructured Robotics Company has a 10-year heritage in advanced robotics control software and has received SBIR Phase 3 funding from NASA to develop advanced planning capabilities for robots in microgravity environments. It has also developed a commercial-off-the-shelf product for supervised autonomy called MoveIt Space, which is ideally suited for space missions. Additionally, the company has been collaborating with NASA and various commercial space companies to lead the development of Space ROS, a flight-certified version of the Robot Operating System (ROS).
Motiv Space Systems has a decade of heritage in designing and manufacturing space systems for commercial and scientific applications, including Mars, Earth orbit, the Moon and beyond. Motiv Space Systems is the creator and manufacturer of the xLink robot arm system, which is designed for EVA and IVA robotic applications. Motiv Space Systems, in collaboration with JPL, has also been developing the COLDArmrobotic system for operation in cryogenic temperatures down to -180 °C for operations in the permanently shadowed regions on the lunar surface.
Under the MOU, the two companies will jointly pursue applications in the In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) domain using Motiv’s hardware and The Unstructured Robotics Company’s high-level robotics control software capabilities. PickNik will also provide advanced robot capabilities on Motiv’s hardware, including the xLink and other robotic systems.
“We are really excited to partner with Motiv to advance ISAM capabilities with more capable robots,” said Dave Coleman, CEO, The Unstructured Robotics Company. “Our collaboration with Motiv aims to change what’s possible in future space missions, with multi-purpose robots augmenting humans in intelligent and collaborative ways previously not thought possible. Together our companies seek to engage commercial space groups and government agencies to enable the next stage of robotic capabilities.”
“We are thrilled to partner with [The Unstructured Robotics Company] to leverage their advanced robotics control software capabilities in the widely used ROS architecture,” said Chris Thayer, President and CEO of Motiv Space Systems. “Together, we can realize the potential of ISAM applications to revolutionize space exploration through the use of modular hardware and software.”
The Unstructured Robotics Company CTO Nathan Brooks will be one of the presenters on the Innovation in Robotic Grasping panel on Wednesday, May 10 at 3 PM at the upcoming Robotics Summit in Boston. You can find the full agenda for the Robotics Summit here. The Robotics Summit & Expo is the premier event for commercial robotics developers. There will be nearly 70 industry-leading speakers sharing their development expertise on stage during the conference, with 150-plus exhibitors on the show floor showcasing their latest enabling technologies, products and services that help develop commercial robots. There also will be a career fair, networking opportunities and more.