Case Study: Tomahawk Robotics

The robotics ecosystem is rapidly evolving, with the range of applications for unmanned systems (UxV) and a number of control systems for ground and airborne platforms dramatically growing over the last two decades.

The advancements in robotics and in particular UxV are opening up the field beyond the military to enterprise-level use cases as well as assistive technologies.

To address these changing and evolving market needs, Tomahawk Robotics partnered with Kinova to provide a software-based control solution for Kinova’s Gen2 and Gen3 ultra-lightweight robotic arms, to enable rapid and efficient deployment of robotic systems for a broad set of manipulation use cases.

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The Challenge

The application of unmanned system technologies are extremely varied but there are common threads that tie together disparate industries and individuals. The primary value is “usefulness.” A future-proof solution is required that is extensible across multiple domains of UxV systems and allows end users to tailor their robotic solution effectively for their specific use case.

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Key Objectives

  1. Create an intuitive, unified human-machine interface (HMI) for robotic control

  2. Create a system that can be leveraged across different platforms and payloads with scalable autonomy and multi-domain capabilities

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The Solution

To control manipulators such as Kinova’s Gen2 and Gen3 robotic arms, Tomahawk’s Kinesis robotic control software utilizes ROS, a common framework that’s favored by developers working with robotic systems due to its open-source nature and ability to facilitate and simplify network communications, independent of hardware and other programs.

'We’ve been extremely pleased with Kinova’s manipulation systems. They are low weight and provide a good balance of speed and strength. From an integration perspective, having a compact, the integrated controller is a significant plus. I would also highlight the benefits of a flexible, feature-rich ROS API. Overall, superb technology.'

Brad Truesdell, CEO at Tomahawk Robotics

Kinesis controller for Kinova Gen3 ultra-lightweight robotic arm robotic manipulator

The Results

By combining the capabilities of Kinova and Tomahawk Robotics, users have the ability to more effectively manage or integrate Kinova manipulation technologies with different robotic platforms and payloads. These capabilities were key to support Tomahawk’s efforts with US and International Military Customers as well as work with US National Labs.

The result is a timely, cost-effective, tailored solution that addresses the target use case, at an appropriate price point.

The solution has been effective for Tomahawk’s customers both in the oil and gas as well as the security and defense verticals who are using dexterous manipulation systems to execute a range of tasks that include operations such as identifying unexploded munitions or monitoring valves at an oil and gas facility.

Use Cases

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Oil and Gas

Using Kinova’s Gen2 and Gen3 robots, Tomahawk developed software to integrate Kinesis for their Oil and Gas customers to conduct data collection/monitoring at remote well sites.

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US Military

Having the ability to test, demonstrate and deploy Kinesis and Kinova robots was essential to execute manipulation tasks. Kinesis would not be suitable for the broad set of DOD use cases for remote systems if it was unable to provide dexterous manipulation.

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International Military

Having the ability to use a high degree of free manipulation systems with Kinesis and Kinova robots allowed us to successfully prove the architecture was sufficient to enable robotic command and control across different robotic systems.

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US National Lab

Tomahawk has been working with one of the US National Labs to deploy Kinesis as a multi-domain robotic command and control solution, using Kinova robots to address the required highly dexterous manipulation tasks.