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Robotic Research receives permission to operate autonomous electric shuttle on public roads in Maryland

Robotic Research, a provider of autonomy and robotic technologies to commercial and federal customers, announced it has received permission from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration to operate Olli, an autonomous electric shuttle that is driven by Robotic Research’s AutoDrive technology, between its two office locations in Clarksburg, MD. The Maryland Department of Transportation, after extensive review of the technology with Montgomery County government, law enforcement, fire/EMS, and public transportation, granted Robotic Research a highly automated vehicle (HAV) permit for the Olli shuttle. The HAV permit will allow Robotic Research to continue its research and testing of autonomous vehicle capabilities and technology directly on a half-mile stretch of public roadway in Montgomery County. This will be the first deployment of Olli in Montgomery County and the second in the state of Maryland. Local Motors, the manufacturer of Olli, is provided demonstration testing at National Harbor. “We are extremely pleased to have such great support from the state of Maryland and Montgomery County to help advance our research in autonomous vehicle development,” said Alberto Lacaze, President of Robotic Research. “This is a great step forward for innovation in the state of Maryland, and is a great example of the kind of leadership in technology the state is committed to supporting in the private sector.” Robotic Research provides its AutoDrive autonomy software and hardware to Local Motors to enable the shuttle to operate safely without a driver. For safety redundancies, however, the Montgomery County deployment will have a safety operator onboard at all times, available for immediate takeover of vehicle control if necessary. AutoDrive is capable of working on a variety of vehicles, from shuttles like Olli to trucks and buses, allowing them to operate autonomously in common and complex transportation environments, including pedestrian walkways, downtown areas, roadways, intersections, corporate campuses, traffic lights, and more. In other work involving autonomous vehicles, Robotic Research has developed Pegasus, a transformable unmanned autonomous vehicle (hybrid UAS/UGV) that designed to deliver greater flexibility and performance to reconnaissance and combat operations. Pegasus is equipped with artificial intelligence that can perform obstacle avoidance and full 3D mapping in any environment, and is operated by a common controller built within the ATAK/Netwarrior application. The Pegasus robotic system was created to address intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives missions. Features include autonomous operations in air or ground modes; 20 minutes of operation in flight mode or four hours in ground mode; support for up to a two-pound payload (ISR and CBRNE payloads available); ability to operate with or without GPS; and ability to create a 3D map of its environment. Another autonomous system developed by Robotic Research is Paralift—a driver-assist, autonomous loading and securement system. Paralift provides individuals with reduced mobility independent access to their vehicle. The capabilities of this automated wheelchair include voice commands, auto mobility, and an automated lift. Robotic Research has also introduced a drive-by-wire kit, which can be applied to virtually any vehicle of any size or purpose. The autonomy kit serves both commercial and DoD applications and can be integrated into other Robotic Research systems. Finally, the company’s RR-N-140 Navigation System provides accurate, absolute, and relative 3D (6 DOF) localization information for ground vehicles of all sizes. This device delivers localization features in GPS‐denied or compromised areas. It is designed specifically for use on unmanned ground vehicles and is customizable to incorporate a wide variety of sensor inputs into the navigation solution.
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