A local robotics company has received grant funding from the U.S. Army that will help them develop improvements to the the way heavy autonomous vehicles come to a stop during operation.

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. serves clients across the world in the mining, agriculture, automotive, government and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation and fully automated vehicles from its headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in Mendon.

According to Marketing Manager Brandon Taylor, the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicles Systems Center grant will allow the company’s research and development division to begin developing technology to help large, autonomous vehicles stop safely and efficiently.

Many of the vehicles in operation now are carrying heavy loads and move at slow speeds, but when they come to a stop, it is an abrupt stop, Taylor said. ASI has been tasked with improving the ability for these vehicles to make a more gradual stop by continuously monitoring of the vehicle and the way it interacts with its surroundings.

Taylor said the bid proposal from the Army states its objective is “to develop and demonstrate a system that can be operated remotely and considers both the dynamics of the vehicle, as well as the environment, to optimally and safely bring a large ground vehicle to a complete stop despite the terrain.”

“Bringing large autonomous vehicles to a safe stop in varying environments can be challenging,” said Jeff Ferrin, CTO of ASI. “Having additional funding from the Army to further develop this technology will help us make autonomous vehicles safer, which is always our number-one priority.”

Funding is awarded in phases, with the first phase allowing the company to begin work on the project. After a concept has been proven and the company has demonstrated progress, ASI can apply for the second phase of funding in order to take the project to the point of commercialization, where the U.S. Army and other industries can begin utilizing that technology.

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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.