RACK & ROLL
Innovative lift truck applications involving unmanned operation are being
increasingly explored for high-risk work environments, such as those in the
military, according to Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. This past June, the US
Army Logistics Innovation Agency (LIA) hosted demonstrations at Fort Lee,VA,
of an MIT-developed prototype unmanned robotic Toyota lift truck capable of
locating, lifting, moving, and placing palletized supplies within an existing outdoor
supply depot. The demonstration included review of the robot’s safety features,
sensor capabilities, and human-robot interface based on voice and gesture
The robotics technology was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) BAE Systems and Lincoln Laboratory in collaboration with the LIA, the Combined Arms Support
Command (CASCOM) Sustainment Battle Lab, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and the Director of
Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E).
The 3,000-pound capacity, internal combustion Toyota 8-Series lift truck was modified by researchers at MIT’s
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to perform embodied speech and gesture understanding;
shape estimation (from laser range scanner data); machine vision (from camera data); motion estimation (from GPS,
inertial data, and wheel odometry encoders); and autonomous mobility and pallet manipulation. Proprietary Controller
Area Network (CAN-bus) protocols (provided by Toyota’s 8-Series product engineering team) enabled the MIT team
to connect its algorithms directly to the lift truck’s manual and electrical controls.
NEW DISTRIBUTOR FOR COROWARES ...
Coro Ware Technologies, a subsidiary of Coro Ware, Inc., has entered into a distribution agreement with Singapore Robotic,
a supplier of quality technology products.
Singapore Robotic offers a broad range of technology components and tools used in robotics development. The company's
online store ( www.sgbotic.com) includes products from advanced robotics systems and books, to SFE widgets and tools.
Coro Ware's robotics product line includes the CoroBot and Explorer platforms. These robots include PC-class
processors, on-board sensors, and color cameras. Options include laser range finders, pan-tilt cameras, and robotic arms.
CoroBot is designed for development inside the lab. Explorer is built on a more rugged chassis to withstand certain
environmental elements encountered in the field, such as dust, dirt, gravel, sand, leaf debris, and small puddles.
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