Military Embedded Systems

Robot autonomy in space to be supplemented with MoveIt Studio


June 09, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

PickNik photo.

BOULDER, Colo. PickNik Robotics announced that it has been awarded a NASA Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop its technology for advanced planning capabilities for robots in microgravity environments.

PickNik is a robotics software technology company founded in 2015 and headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. PickNik is the maintainer of the open-source MoveIt project, a widely used robotic motion planning framework within the Robot Operating System (ROS).

According to the company, PickNik's technology is designed to address a common gap in deploying robotic arms into environments, where full autonomy is still too difficult. Instead, the capability is designed to allow a human operator to supervise and intervene when the robot gets stuck. PickNik claims that it plans to widely release the system terrestrially in Fall 2021 under the name MoveIt Studio.

MoveIt Studio is designed to give technicians access to algorithmic capabilities provided by MoveIt within an accessible user interface. MoveIt Studio will aim to enable operators to specify complex sequences of motions for robots in unstructured environments, including the International Space Station and the future Lunar Gateway, according to the company.

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