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ARM Announces Second Call for Projects for 2019
July 18, 2019      

PITTSBURGH – The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) institute this week announced its second “Call for Projects” of 2019, focusing on eight topic areas that seek to strengthen U.S. manufacturing by developing, demonstrating, and accelerating the early adoption of robotics solutions.

ARM institute logoARM said it expects to award up to $5 million to fund multiple projects under this project call (ARM-TEC-19-02), with individual project budgets up to $500,000. The institute said all projects require, at a minimum, a 2:1 cost share ratio by each proposer team for all projects. For example, a proposed budget of $300,000 in ARM funding would require, at a minimum, an additional $600,000 of project cost share. Projects are open to ARM members, and must be submitted by Aug. 16, 2019.

ARM projects address four overarching goals:

  • Empower American workers to compete with low-wage workers abroad;
  • Aid in the creation of new jobs to secure U.S. national prosperity;
  • Lower the technical, operational, and economic barriers to adopt robotic technologies;
  • Assert U.S. leadership in advanced robotics for manufacturing.

This particular call for projects will use ARM’s new one-step proposal process, which aims to shorten the time from idea to selection, and get technology projects up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible, ARM said.

In the project call (ARM-TEC-19-02), the group identified eight topic areas (TA) that are most relevant for this project call, and includes:

  • Methods and tools for successful robotics adoption and expansion (TA1).
  • User-friendly interfaces for programming, operation, and maintenance, that “reduce the burden of learning, operating, maintaining, or programming a robotic system applied to a manufacturing environment (TA2).
  • Bi-directional communication on the shop floor, which enable humans and robots to communicate in a manufacturing environment more effectively (TA3).
  • Human-robot trust and safety, which help improve workers’ trust in robots when engaging in collaborative and co-located robotic manufacturing activities (TA4).
  • Modular robotic designs, which looks for modular, reconfigurable, agile, and flexible robotic work cells for manufacturing processes that can be deconstructed and reassembled to achieve a new operational objective (TA5).
  • Smart, flexible sensors and integration, which can vary in scope and purpose and applied to roles and functions that help enable easier integration between different robots, components, and hardware elements (TA6).
  • Automated path planning and robot instruction generation (TA7), which looks for ways that robots can safely and efficiently navigate their environment to complete tasks. This could include navigation using pre-tailored planning, mapping, and response, as well as in-situ planning in response to unforeseen changes in the environment and situations.
  • Advisor robot, which looks for the development of robotic systems with the ability to sense, interpret, and make decisions under unanticipated conditions, by observing, identifying and detecting the faults and spec compliance of the manufacturing systems, processes, and environment.

ARM said it expects to make final selections of projects for this call by the end of September 2019. For more details on this call, head to the ARM website. For a list of previous projects funded by ARM, head here.

A national membership-based consortium, ARM aims to create an ecosystem that will drive innovation in robotics. Its staff and resources are “focused on spurring more innovations in not just robotics technology, but also workforce development, ensuring the future is built by robots, but directed by humans. ARM and its members seek to lower economic, technical, and operational barriers, allowing enterprises of all sizes to adopt robotic technologies.” ARM is also a member of Manufacturing USA, a network of regional institutes, each with a specialized technology focus.