Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) and Danfoss, a market leader in components and software for automation, have entered into an agreement to collaborate on technology for autonomous vehicles.

Danfoss products have long provided critical links from ASI’s software and processors to vehicle control systems and hardware via electrical, network, and hydraulic interfaces. The PLUS+1? platform has been particularly useful to ASI in automating vehicles for agriculture, mining, construction, and material handling applications.

Mel Torrie, President and CEO of ASI, says, “ASI has been using the best-in-class Danfoss components over the last 20 years to support our driverless vehicle development with the world’s leading vehicle OEMs. This new partnership will ensure manufacturers have the needed support to streamline their efforts in making autonomous industrial vehicles a mainstream reality.”

ASI looks forward to working with Danfoss to bring exciting new capabilities to a broader market and a wider range of applications, with world-class support for innovative new offerings. As the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology expands, more potential customers are seeing ways for automation to improve their products and services. This partnership will enable ASI and Danfoss to provide the building blocks for all kinds of implementations not viable in the past.

“This partnership demonstrates our ambition to invest in autonomy and be the innovative partner for our customers. It’s a promising partnership and we are excited about the potential in vehicle automation,” says Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danfoss.

About ASI

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. is a world leader in vendor independent vehicle automation systems. From our headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in northern Utah, we serve clients in the mining, agriculture, automotive, construction, material handling, government, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation and fully automated solutions. ASI’s vehicle automation products can be found in companies and government agencies throughout the world. Read more about us at www.www.ouidzine.com

About Danfoss

Danfoss engineers advanced technologies that enable us to build a better, smarter and more efficient tomorrow. In the world’s growing cities, we ensure the supply of fresh food and optimal comfort in our homes and offices, while meeting the need for energy-efficient infrastructure, connected systems and integrated renewable energy. Our solutions are used in areas, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, motor control and mobile machinery. Our innovative engineering dates back to 1933 and today Danfoss holds market-leading positions, employing 27,000 people and serving customers in more than 100 countries. We are privately held by the founding family. Read more about us at www.danfoss.com.

Autonomous vehicle sensor screen shot

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been awarded a SBIR Phase I grant from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicles Systems Center (formerly TARDEC) to develop a Deep Learning (DL) architecture that will support sensor fusion in environments with limited, or no, GPS.

“Environmental sensing today typically includes cameras, LiDAR and radar,” said Jeff Ferrin, CTO of ASI. “Each of these devices has a specific purpose, but not all of them work well in every situation. For example, cameras are great at collecting high-resolution color information, but do not provide much useful information in the dark.”

In addition to the challenges faced by cameras in poorly lit or degraded visual environments, LiDAR and radar sensors also have limitations. LiDAR performs well in most light conditions but may yield false positives in heavy rain, fog, snow or dust, due to its use of light spectrum wavelengths. Radar usually penetrates these degraded visual environments, but often lacks spatial resolution.

“ASI’s goal is to design a deep learning architecture that fuses information from LiDAR, radar and cameras,” said Ferrin. “We plan to build upon machine learning techniques we have already developed for LiDAR data.”

Deep learning is a branch of artificial intelligence and machine learning that allows valuable information to be extracted from large volumes of data. Cameras are often used in deep learning models because of their high output of information in regularly sampled data structures.

The case is different for LiDAR and radar. Naturally, these two sensor types do not provide regularly sampled data, making it difficult to formulate problems using current deep learning frameworks. This gap in current research efforts – deep learning for LiDAR and radar – is the focus of this grant.

Improved utilization of data from multiple devices can paint a more accurate picture of a vehicle’s surroundings, keeping it safer and making it more efficient. The details of the grant solicitation state, “It is anticipated that harnessing a wide variety of sensors altogether will benefit the autonomous vehicles by providing a more general and robust self-driving system, especially for navigating in different types of challenging weather, environments, road conditions and traffic.”

“In the last few years, we have seen a growing need in the world of robotics to advance industry capabilities in machine learning, deep learning, and other artificial intelligence algorithms to improve performance in these challenging environments,” said Ferrin.

ASI is required to demonstrate the feasibility of the deep learning architecture in a simulation environment, including a road following system that controls an autonomous vehicle, on a course with obstacles and a degraded visual environment.

About ASI

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is a world leader in industrial vehicle automation. ASI serves clients across the world in the mining, agriculture, automotive, government, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation, and fully automated solutions from its headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in northern Utah.

To learn more about ASI’s work with sensor fusion technology, visit the company’s Research and Development page.

Large autonomous truck

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has received Phase I funding from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicles Systems Center (formerly TARDEC) to improve the way heavy vehicles stop while operating autonomously.

“Bringing large autonomous vehicles to a safe stop in varying environments can be challenging,” said Jeff Ferrin, CTO of ASI. “Having additional funding from the Army to further develop this technology will help us make autonomous vehicles safer, which is always our number-one priority.”

The objective of the Army in awarding this grant is to develop and demonstrate a system that can be operated remotely and considers both the dynamics of the vehicle, as well as the environment, to optimally and safely bring a large ground vehicle to a complete stop despite the terrain.

“ASI has been working on terrain characterization with the Army since 2014,” said Ferrin. “This project will use similar technology to make sure the vehicle is aware of the terrain around it. This model of the terrain will then be used by the vehicle to ensure a safer stop is completed.”

A significant focus of this intelligent urgent stop initiative is machine learning. This improved technology will continuously monitor the interaction between a vehicle and its surroundings and update the internal model that is used to properly halt the vehicle. This process will allow the vehicle to learn and adapt as the terrain and environment change.

As the advanced solution is developed, tested and proven, it can be used by ASI’s autonomous vehicles across all the company’s multiple industries, including agriculture, automotive, construction haulage, mining, facility robotics and more.

According to Ferrin, “The system can be used with any drive-by-wire vehicle. It will interface with the brakes and steering to bring the vehicle to a safe, controlled stop.”

Details of the Phase I stage awarded to ASI include development of a concept design using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors to perform safe deceleration of a large ground vehicle. A concept design report and performance analysis report are required deliverables before Phase II can be awarded.

About ASI

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is a world leader in industrial vehicle automation. ASI serves clients across the world in the mining, agriculture, automotive, government, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation, and fully automated solutions from its headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in northern Utah.

ASI autonomous convoy img 2

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is pleased to announce it recently received an AFWERX/AFRL Phase II SBIR award for $648,000 to automate a ground vehicle convoy on the test range at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in southern California.

AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in June 2018, and through three repeat calls for ideas a year, the Air Force has begun offering ‘Special’ SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of innovations.

“We are thrilled to have received funding for the second phase of this contract, and for the support of Edwards AFB,” said Jeff Ferrin, CTO at ASI. “This provides valuable resources for testing and enhancing the convoy capabilities of our Mobius command and control platform.”

The Mobius? platform is ASI’s proprietary command and control software used to operate self-driving vehicles. It has become known for delivering a powerful, user-friendly, autonomous vehicle experience to industries such as mining, agriculture, automotive, material handling, security and test range operations.

Mobius is designed to set specific tasks and control critical vehicle functions like steering, transmission, acceleration, brake and ignition of a vehicle from a remote location.

The goal of Edwards AFB is to use the Mobius? platform to improve precision, accuracy and repeatability of range testing.

Following a series of onsite visits, ASI selected the base as the best candidate for their solution.

“The most promising Air Force customer was Edwards AFB,” said Ferrin. “From the beginning of the Phase I project, they have been very interested in both Mobius and our convoy technology. The business case for efficiency and accuracy by applying Mobius at their training range is very strong.”

ASI was originally awarded Phase I of the federal grant as a result of the company’s response to a solicitation through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, titled Open Call for Innovative Defense-Related Dual -Purpose Technologies/Solutions.

According to the solicitation details, the objective of the grant was to “explore options for solutions that may fall outside the Air Force’s current fields of focus but that may be useful to the US Air Force.”

Companies were required to complete a feasibility study and prototype validated concepts requested in both Phase I and Phase II schedules.

ASI received $50,000 for Phase I of the grant in 2018.

About ASI

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is a world leader in industrial vehicle automation. ASI serves clients across the world in the mining, agriculture, automotive, government, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation, and fully automated solutions from its headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in northern Utah.

Mobius® is an industry leading command and control software platform developed by Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI). Over the years, Mobius has been developed and specialized to bring a powerful, custom driverless technology solution to industries like mining, agriculture, automotive, material handling, security, industrial cleaning and more.

Mobius and ASI’s driverless technology can be integrated into nearly any vehicle to make it autonomous. This disruptive technology is changing the way industry is looking at various operations and having a powerful and positive impact where implemented.

One of the most important benefits this technology is brining to industry is safety. Mobius increases safety by removing humans from dangerous environments.

Another benefit ASI customers have seen is increased efficiency leading to reduced operating costs. That means projects that were not being considered may now be feasible, allowing organizations to grow and expand.

ASI's Mobius command and control software
ASI’s Mobius command and control software has been applied to industries like agriculture, mining, automotive testing, material handling, security and more.

Mobius optimizes work by bringing multiple vehicles together in an orchestrated effort. The system can track both automated vehicles and manned vehicles allowing Mobius and all autonomous vehicles to be aware of the location of manned vehicles at all times. A single operator then oversees the entire operation and is notified of important events when necessary.

Through this technology, an operator can see vehicle-specific diagnostics and be alerted anytime systems are reaching near-critical levels. An operator overseeing the operation is also able to draw paths, set tolerances, set specific events at specific points, task vehicles and more.

Mobius incorporates the latest and greatest in cutting edge technology. Whatever the industry is, whatever the needs of an organization’s operations may be, Mobius can be adapted to meet those needs and enable that organization to scale growth and gain competitive advantage.

Contact ASI to learn how Mobius technology can take your organization to the next level.

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ASI's exhibit at one of the largest unmanned vehicle conferences in the world attracted robotics enthusiasts from multiple industries to see the latest in vehicle automation technology.

Business development personnel from Autonomous Solutions, Inc. returned this past week from a sunny Orlando, Florida, where AUVSI recently concluded its Unmanned Systems 2014 conference. The booth at this year's AUVSI proved to be one of ASI's most impactful exhibits to date and included a wide variety of videos, new products, vehicles, and even a concept command center.

Vehicle Control Unit

ASI's booth highlighted the launch of a new vehicle control unit (VCU). The VCU is the onboard computer in an autonomous vehicle that manages critical vehicle functions like positioning, transmission, acceleration, brake, and steering, while also relaying vehicle health data to the remote operator.

The new design has improvements in size, weight, and computing power over previous models and now houses the software pieces that control autonomy and obstacle avoidance. The new VCU design will soon be adopted into ASI's vehicle automation offerings across all industries.


Released during last year's AUVSI conference, the Forge robotic platform was back again, this time with a massive gripper attachment capable of retrieving and manipulating barrels, trees, and other large objects.

On November 1, 2013, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. celebrated their thirteenth year of business. Since November 2000, ASI has automated more than sixty different types of vehicles; deploy hundreds of robots worldwide; and provided solutions that improve productivity and safety in challenging spaces, including: military, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and automotive.

As the year winds down, we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. This past year was full of exciting events, notable implementations, product releases, and industry awards.

This article will take you through some of the more prominent happenings during ASI's Year Thirteen.

Mar 2013—ASI adopts AGILE development methodology
To deliver the best possible product while being able to accommodate customer feedback, ASI teams adopt AGILE development methodologies.

Apr 2013—Guideline Receives Bronze Edison Award
On April 25th, the prestigious Edison Awards selected ASI's Guideline Robotic Convoy product as a 2013 Bronze winner. Guideline is a tethered, unmanned convoy system currently undergoing in-theater testing.

Ford Robotic Durability Program

Jun 2013—Ford Motor Company Announces Robotic Program
Ford Motor Company announced its robotic durability testing program designed to protect drivers from their most punishing test tracks. ASI's automotive team worked with Ford engineers for three years to supply the vehicle robotics for Ford's program.

Jul 2013—USPTO Issues Two New Trademarks
ASI adds to its store of intellectual property with two new trademarks for the Forecast 3D laser system and the Vantage obstacle detection and avoidance system.

Aug 2013—ASI Announces New Forge Robotic Platform at AUVSI
ASI unveils the new Forge robotic platform at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington DC. The new product answer the need for an x-by-wire robotic platform usable across multiple industries.

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Translogic highlights the LAPD Batcat. Watch Video

Aol Auto's Translogic series highlights the BatCat telehandler operated by the Los Angeles Police Department. Watch Video.

Bad guys, beware! The BatCat will get you. Aol Auto's Translogic series released a video highlighting the Bomb Assessment Tactical Counter Assault Tool (BatCat) owned and operated by the Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad. The specialized fork lift can be used in a variety of applications, including: breaching buildings, inspecting bombs, and even supporting a sniper perch.

The BatCat was designed to be an all-purpose, heavy duty telehandler that can be driven manually or by remote control depending on the danger of the situation. That's where Autonomous Solutions, Inc. comes in. ASI handled the vehicle automation technology that enables officers to drive the BatCat remotely, allowing officers to operate downrange without physically being in danger.

The same robotic technology found in the BatCat is also being used by the US Air Force for target vehicles, Ford Motor Company's robotic durability program, and other mining and agricultural groups.

"The whole idea is we want to be able to keep people out of harm's way," said ASI's Eric Budd during his Translogic interview.

"BatCat is designed to be very methodical, and very precise," said Officer Rich Nagatoshi who was instrumental in bringing the BatCat to the LAPD. The BatCat can be equipped with a variety of attachments such as lifting forks or even a massive claw capable of crushing a car. The BatCat's versatility makes is the first choice of bomb squad officers in difficult and dangerous situations. "When we roll up on scene, it's because they need us."

The highly publicized capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, was an incredible showcase of law enforcement skill and effectiveness. It was also a showcase for the usefulness of robotic technology in high tension and potentially dangerous circumstances.

In the hours that followed the release of their photographs, the Tsarnaev brothers were responsible for the murder of an MIT police officer, a carjacking, and a furious firefight with authorities (which left an officer critically wounded and Dzhokhar's brother dead). Law enforcement officials deemed the two brothers armed and extremely dangerous.

The day-long manhunt came to an end when police stormed a boat where Dzhokhar was hiding and took him into custody.

In volatile situations such as this, the highest priority of law enforcement officials is to ensure the safety of both citizens and officers. Authorities descending on the boat where Tsarnaev was holed up feared he may again resist arrest with firearms or worse by detonating explosives. In response, police used a bomb disposal robot to inspect the boat for threats and later an armored vehicle equipped with a robotic arm to remove the boat's covering and expose Tsarnaev. While no explosive devices were found at the scene, the situation shows how robotic technology can be used to keep officers safe.

On the opposite side of the United States, the Los Angeles Police Department use what's known as the BatCat (Bomb Assessment Tactical Counter Assault Tool), a large, remotely operated tele-handler, in similar situations. The BatCat is equipped with cameras and sensors to for navigation as well as a telescopic, claw-like implement that is capable of tearing down walls and lifting entire vehicles.

The BatCat has been instrumental in several situation, including a bomb threat last December on an empty police cruiser parked in an area to deter crime. The threat turned out to be a hoax, but had there been any explosives, LAPD robotics would have been in position to safely extract and diffuse the device.

As robotics technology becomes increasingly powerful and affordable, more of these units will find their way into the hands of law enforcement officials, better equipping them to safely handle dangerous situations. However, this technology is still far from perfect. The research and development team at ASI is in the process of tackling the difficult questions of handling explosive in such as buildings where no GPS or radio signals can reach (known as GPS-denied environments), as well as going up stairs, avoiding obstacles, and opening doors. These next generation robots will be areas better equipped to handle dangerous situations like hazardous material spills, nuclear environments, disaster recovery, and indoor reconnaissance with little to no operator intervention.

As the United States combat presence scales down in the Iraq and Afghanistan regions, so does US military spending on robotics, says Valerie Insinna, Staff Writer for the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). In her recent article Opportunities for Non-Military Robots Increase, Insinna focuses on how Robotics companies will soon find it necessary to look to other markets as defense resources dry up. Many companies are already looking to consumer products and agriculture.

"In the past, defense and security sales made up about 40 percent of iRobot's revenue," Insinna quoted Matthew Lloyd, spokesman of iRobot. "Because of decreased contracts with the military and a 28-percent increase in sales of its home robots such as the Roomba, sales of defense robots are now only 10 percent of the company's business."

Several years ago, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) found itself with a similar need to innovate. Previous to 2008, ASI relied primarily on military research grants and partnerships with Department of Defense prime contractors. Much of that business dried up as the recession hit commercial and government budgets heavily in 2008.

ASI's President and CEO, Mel Torrie, realized that something needed to happen.

"It was innovate or die at that point," said Torrie. "We recognized that we needed to make a fundamental change not only to where we were getting our business, but also to the kind of offering we provide to our customers." Starting in 2008, ASI expanded product offerings to markets in the private sector.

"Throughout the years, we have done projects in agriculture and mining, so we had a good foundation of understanding and experience to move us into those industries," said Torrie.

"We also recognized that we needed to innovate from being primarily a project-based company to being a product-based company. Some of that transition is still in progress, but we feel that it better positions us to provide what our customers need."

In 2011, ASI also added automotive proving grounds to its pillar markets. Torrie explained that catering to three out of four markets dominated by the private sector will insulate ASI from future downturns in the US military budget as well as downturns in any single industry.

"Long term," Torrie continued, "robotics is going to be critical to the military side of things, so we still have an emphasis there. We have several key product offerings that thrive in both domestic and international military environments. But we've found success in spreading our universal automation technologies into other markets.

"We feel that ASI is well positioned for the foreseeable future and ahead of many companies that are just now finding the need to innovate."

Read more about the future of military ground robotics in the NDIA article: Opportunities for Non-Military Robots Increase.