The combat division (AvMC) of the US Army has funded $1 Million to RE2 Robotics for developing an autonomous in-the-field refueling Robot for its AH-64 Apache helicopters.

In a blog post, RE2 Robotics wrote that the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center, stationed in Port Hueneme, California, is leading a project called Remote Robotic Refueling for Extended Missions (R3EM). The project is assisted by the Autonomous and Robotic Remote Refueling Point (AR3P) program. 

The Project of Remote Robotic Refueling for Extended Missions would draw upon the RE2’s proprietary perception software for controlling the RE2 robotic arm positioned onto the Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) that will autonomously locate and employ the fuel nozzle in the helicopter’s fuel port.

The multiple sensors offer a 3D-Situational perception, which would allow the system to function smoothly in an unpredictable environment. The system would detect when the fuel is full and disengages the fuel nozzle from the fuel port.

The significant advantage in employing autonomous vehicles for Heavy Equipment works is that they can work in harsh environments round the clock without the concern of safety.

As per Dr. Amanda Sgroi, RE2 Robotics’ director of computer vision and autonomy, the Refueling Robot is autonomous and responds to the pilot’s order. The framework would rapidly and productively eliminate a fuel line from a put-away area, draw in the fuel line with the Apache helicopter, and move it back into a stowed position.

He added that, Because the framework is automated, it would empower troops to broaden the scope of their missions while disposing of the requirement for warriors to stay detached at refueling stations, further decreasing the size of a mission’s calculated impression.

Earlier, DARPA funded $2.5 Million for the Underminer Program to develop GE’s autonomous earthworm robot to dig tactical tunnels and resupply ammunition.

According to RE2 Robotics’ president and CEO, Jorgen Pedersen, the R3EM program allows RE2 to apply its next-generation autonomy software and history of robotic arm expertise to a new outdoor application within the Department of Defense.

Pratt Miller, which provides the program with its TMT-I rugged mobile base, is collaborating with RE2.

RE2 Robotics is a pioneer in the creation of intelligent mobile manipulation systems. Its headquarters are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.