Olis Robotics Wins U.S. Air Force Funding to Explore Viability of Repairing and Servicing Satellites in Orbit

Olis Robotics’ AI-driven progressive-autonomy robotic control platform offers new levels of precision, safety, and efficiency to aid in extending the service life of satellites in orbit

SEATTLE, WA, May 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Olis Robotics, a leader in next-generation mobile remote robotics software, today announced a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Air Force to increase the capabilities and reduce the significant cost of operations in Earth orbit. The initial $50,000 grant leads the way to as much as $1.5MM in potential future Air Force funding.

Olis Robotics’ AI-driven software platform operates by integrating existing robotic systems into a singular, intuitive control platform. The machine learning capabilities of the proprietary platform enables robots servicing satellites in orbit to assist pilots by performing multiple tasks with progressive levels of autonomy. This advanced platform reduces pilot error, increases the probability of mission success, and dramatically extends the potential service life of satellites.

“We’re pleased to be working with the Air Force to help extend the life of existing satellites, potentially saving hundreds of millions of dollars, with the precision to refuel, repair, or update components while the satellites are in orbit,” Olis Robotics’ CEO Don Pickering stated. “Olis Robotics’ progressive autonomy software platform enables the ability to use robotics in orbit to service satellites and reduce the cost of maintaining and upgrading existing satellite systems.”

Olis Robotics will also solve for latency concerns through its AI components, which allow the robot to safely operate within set levels of autonomy even when commands are delayed. The company will also examine the viability of utilizing its software platform for in-space assembly, inspections, and testing satellite and manufacturing parts built in space.

As part of the funding, the U.S. Air Force will receive a report analyzing how Olis Robotics’ AI-driven commercial capabilities may help USAF’s needs to safely, precisely and efficiently service satellites in orbit and aid in orbital manufacturing. This report builds on existing work Olis is doing on several NASA projects evaluating solutions for construction and servicing of manned habitats and in-space manufacturing as well as Olis’ involvement in the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) to help define technical and operations standards for On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) and Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO).

ABOUT OLIS ROBOTICS: Olis Robotics, formerly known as BluHaptics, has developed a next-generation software platform that greatly expands the capabilities of pilot-controlled service robots in dynamic environments from space, to subsea and the field. Olis enables vast improvements in robotic dexterity, precision, efficiency, and overall mission success, while simultaneously reducing downtime and driving down costs. Olis Robotics was founded in 2013 as a spinout from the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington and is based in Seattle with offices in Europe.  

ABOUT AFWERX: AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, and now in 19.1, the Air Force has begun offering 'Special' SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of innovations.


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