Clearpath, Franka Emika Team on Mobile Manipulation Research Robot

Image: Clearpath Robotics

July 31, 2019      

WATERLOO, Ontario – Clearpath Robotics, which develops mobile robotics platforms, and German robotics firm Franka Emika, which develops soft-robotics systems for industrial use, have partnered to combine Franka’s Panda robot to Clearpath’s research mobile robot platforms. Panda will also be available as a stand-alone option on the Clearpath Store.

The Panda collaborative robot arm provides researchers with features that include seven degrees of freedom, 1 KHz control, torque-sensing in all joints, access to multiple research applications and full capability of the Robot Operating System (ROS).

“We are committed to creating novel robotics platform technologies and improving performance and accessibility for everyone to overcome one of the biggest challenges of modern society; relieving an entire generation of tedious, potentially dangerous, vastly time-consuming and monotonous labor,” said Simon Haddadin, Franka Hemika‘s CEO and co-founder.

While Franka Emika has focused for years in the soft-robotics research space, more recently it transitioned to more ambitious projects, such as artificial intelligence-enabled robot platforms, a global partner network for technology transfer, and a digital robotics platform that could help bridge the gap between the digital and physical world, the company said. Clearpath Robotics develops mobile robots that are customizable with easy integration options with different collaborative robots. The company’s Manipulator Teleoperation Package enables the remote control of manipulators and collaborative robots.

“Bringing together Franka Emika’s Panda and our robot platforms will enable Clearpath to provide further unique and personalized solutions to our customers,” said Julian Ware, general manager of Clearpath Robotics. “The Panda has broad utility in robotics development and represents a terrific value to researchers. The 7 degrees of freedom and integrated force sensing make it ideal for HRI [Human-Robot Interaction] applications and mobile manipulation.”

With the addition of Panda to the Clearpath store, Clearpath can sell the Panda robot globally, to provide researchers and companies with additional application options, the companies said. With a smaller control box that allows for easier integration and its support of ROS, Clearpath can leverage its own ROS expertise. Clearpath said it has one of the largest ROS development teams in the world, “with industry-leading expertise in the design and development of ROS software and ROS-powered robotic systems, providing custom software solutions.”