EC: Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System Series 4
Motion Control - robotics: Kairos Autonomi Inc., Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System Series 4. The Pronto Agnostic Autonomy System is a robotics applique hardware kit that converts existing automobiles and other ground vehicles into robotic systems. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.
The patent-pending Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System Series 4 from Kairos Autonomi is a robotics applique kit installable on most existing automobiles and other ground vehicles in about 4 hours. Modes of operation include remote control, GPS path following, and intelligent self-navigation. The Pronto4 system attaches to a vehicle's human-operated controls: steering, brake, throttle and transmission. It receives power from the vehicle's battery, and weighs less than 75 lb. With the Pronto4 system installed, either a human or computer can operate the vehicle. This approach, utilizing a flexible attachment set that can be configured to meet the highly common human control paradigm, delivers robotic control capability to existing vehicles at less than 20% of the cost of developing purpose-built robotic systems. The Pronto4 system is a critical technology driver within the U.S. military testing and evaluation, training, and range clearance operations.
Recently, Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon used the Pronto4 system to provide realistic moving land targets (MLTs) within training scenarios for pilots. The Pronto4 system was installed, along with a GPS receiver and a wireless emergency-stop system, on inexpensive used vehicles as MLTs as part of a live fire exercise with Navy F/A-18C fighter pilots. The MLT was programmed to drive unmanned on a runway while the pilots fired Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds (ELGTRs) at the unmanned vehicles.
During the initial test, eight ELGTRs were fired at the MLT, and a number of near hits were recorded. Since the initial exercises, more than 40 ELGTRs have been fired at MLTs powered by the Pronto4 system. NAS Fallon has procured a number of Pronto4 systems for future use. Spurred on by this success, Kairos Autonomi competed for and was awarded a contract with Luke Air Force Base (AFB) to deliver 12 Pronto4 systems for MLT training.
Kairos Autonomi Inc.
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Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.