Clearpath Robotics Introduces Kingfisher M200

Clearpath brings their new autonomous maritime platform to IROS

2 min read
Clearpath Robotics Introduces Kingfisher M200

The coast of Portugal is not a bad place to launch a brand new autonomous maritime research vessel, especially when there's a swimming pool and a harbor right there, too. Along with a really, really nice beach. Clearpath Robotics brought their brand new roboboat, the Kingfisher M200, to IROS to introduce it to the world, and we've got some exclusive pics and video to share.

GoPros sold separately.

The Kingfisher M200 is an upgrade (or maybe more accurately, a total redesign) of Clearpath's Kingfisher M100. It's designed for autonomous or semi-autonomous research, and is ready to go pretty much right out of the box, with a GPS system, an IMU, hazard avoidance cameras, and a point n' click map-based control interface. It weighs just 30 kilos and can haul up to 10 kilos of payload either on top of or inside its body. If you take the battery out (or even if you don't), the pontoons fold inwards without needing tools and the whole thing can be carried around by one person and easily stuffed into the back of a car.

While the M200 may be small, it's fairly powerful, with a pair of electric water jets that can boost it to a maximum speed of about 4 knots (and they're already working on a faster version). Here's some video we took at IROS with Matt Rendall, CEO of Clearpath:

Not a bad looking robot, right? Let's be honest, though: what robot wouldn't look good with a backdrop like this:

It doesn't look like there's a heck of a lot of info about the M200 up on Clearpath's site yet, but I bet if you call 'em up and ask to order a baker's dozen, they'll be more than happy to get you whatever you need.

[ Clearpath Robotics ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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