MTECH Ventures portfolio graduate AnthroTronix Inc. will be mentored by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) for three years in developing a robot control system through a $1.9-million, three-year contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Robotics Office.
Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL) will help AnthroTronix, a small, privately held, woman-owned business in Silver Spring, Md., develop a Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS)-compliant robot control system. Called the Multi-Purpose Autonomous Teaming Control of Heterogeneous Robots (MATCH), the system will control heterogeneous teams of robots performing diverse sets of force-protection tasks for Air Force Research Laboratory.
Sponsored by the DoD's office of small business programs, the Mentor-Protege Program provides incentives for large defense contractors to share knowledge with small and disadvantaged businesses, organizations that hire people with severe disabilities, and minority-owned small businesses. The program enhances the ability of protege companies to win contracts and help the armed forces transform into a more agile, versatile, survivable and sustainable force. The program also helps eligible proteges transition from subcontractors to prime contractors.
"This is a significant opportunity for AnthroTronix and Lockheed Martin to collaborate on a variety of projects," said Dr. Corinna Lathan, AnthroTronix president, co-founder and chief executive officer. "The entire team at AnthroTronix is excited about working with one of the nation's premier defense contractors to support the challenging and important needs of the Joint Robotics Program. We look forward to a successful and prosperous partnership."
Lockheed Martin will also benefit by complementing its research and development efforts with AnthroTronix's human-machine interface technologies, according to James Marsh, director Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, which already has programs in user-centered interfaces, autonomy and teaming, and network-centric operations.
"AnthroTronix has a fine and talented group of technologists and we expect to benefit substantially from their expertise. For our part, we will leverage our business and technical skills to not only advance their products through operational integration and testing but also to help evaluate and grow their business," said Marsh.
The Lockheed Martin-AnthroTronix partnership also includes Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA, an historically black university. The team will use the university's manufacturing laboratory to develop hardware prototypes of AnthroTronix's robotic controllers.