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AUVSI: RE2 reveals robotic arm tool interchange

Robotics manufacturer RE2 (booth 1429) has unveiled an arm that features automatic tool interchange as well as a new, four-wheeled ground vehicle that can carry a variety of arms and payloads.

"The idea is the robot goes downrange with a toolbox on hand," says RE2 CEO Jorgen Pedersen. "The operator says, I want tool number four" and the robot automatically attaches it. "The operator doesn't do any of that."

The arm, dubbed Automatic, has been developed as a technology demonstrator for Naval Sea Systems Command's Advanced Explosive Ordnance Device Robotic Systems program, which is intended to produce the next generation of military ground robots.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company is continuing to develop retrofittable manual arm attachment kits, but Automatic "is our future", Pedersen says.

RE2 also debuted the prototype of its ForeRunner, a high-speed wheeled vehicle with the ability to carry multiple types of arms and payloads. It can travel at up to 40km/h and its independently steered wheels give it great flexibility, including the ability to drive sideways in "crab mode".

Pedersen says the company is demonstrating both of the devices at the US Army's upcoming Robotic Rodeo, to be held at Fort Hood, Texas, August 31 to September 4.

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