PickNik Robotics announced they have secured two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts with NASA.
The first SBIR award is for a project titled “A Framework for Failure Management and Recovery for Remote Autonomous Task Planning and Execution.” NASA’s growing demand for highly autonomous robotic systems to maintain critical spaceflight hardware, PickNik Robotics developed a novel fault detection and reporting system. This system enables remote operators to diagnose and resolve failures in real-time, allowing them to adjust task specifications and guide the in situ robot towards recovery and objective completion. By developing software tools and user interfaces, their aim is to enhance the capabilities of NASA’s robotic endeavors, including the Artemis program and other notable projects.
The second SBIR award focuses on the project “Task and Motion Planning for Space Operations, with Human-Assisted Recovery.” As space operations increasingly rely on Persistent Assets that require repeated visits and regular maintenance. PickNik Robotics proposes integrating Task and Motion Planning into its MoveIt Studio product, allowing remote operators to provide high-level task specifications while the autonomous system generates and executes action sequences to fulfill those specifications. To address unforeseen issues during operation, an autonomous failure identification mechanism and remote operator intervention will be implemented. This system not only enhances the autonomy capabilities of robotic systems in space but also reduces the cognitive load on remote operators by elevating their role in human-machine teams.