Stratom, a developer of autonomous ground vehicles and robotic systems for logistics and operational applications, has been selected as part of an exclusive team to deliver the US Department of Defense’s Stage II of the Modular Autonomy and Robotic Software program, which involves the collaborative migration of Robotic Technology Kernel software modules from the first version of the Robot Operating System to ROS 2.
For nearly a decade, the US government has been developing ROS-M (Robotic Operating System-Military), an ecosystem of software architectures, reusable components and supporting infrastructure to enable rapid development and fielding of robotic and autonomous systems.
Built on ROS 1, ROS-M enables the DoD to benefit from open-source development practices while maintaining tight control over the community-developed code. However, ROS 1’s current revision, Noetic, is set to be the last version, with support ending in 2025.
Mark Gordon, president and CEO of Stratom, says: “With ROS being officially deprecated in 2025, this collaborative migration is essential to equip the DOD and the entire ground vehicle robotics industry with a set of common robotic capabilities across a variety of platforms and programs to succeed in the ground vehicles space for the next 10 to 20 years.
“At Stratom, we are now well positioned as a thought leader in the ground vehicle robotics space and to rapidly produce prototype systems for future endeavors in less time, for less cost and with less risk.”
Leveraging strong ROS experience, combined with relevant technical projects in addition to past proactive performance working as part of the core MARS program team, Stratom’s participation in the continuation of the program aims to provide continued invaluable insight, input and successful performance.
Stratom’s primary project objectives include enhancing and propagating the ROS-M ecosystem and defining software architectures and frameworks.
Ryan DelGizzi, principal robotics engineer at Stratom, says: “As a small, agile company that can move quickly and is passionate about the work that we do, we look forward to leveraging our deep experience in this space to bring this project to life.
“As a core team member in executing a very meticulous step-by-step process to migrate, bring the various components together and test the code, Stratom’s work with the ROS 2 migration will be instrumental in bringing next-generation robotics standards to integral DOD robotics software.”
The MARS program was established to accelerate software-centric RAS capability development and effective transition to programs.
The National Advanced Mobility Consortium is providing the program with critical autonomous infrastructure, and Stratom – a NAMC member – is providing subject matter expertise in support of NAMC’s efforts. Stage I of the program focused on migrating RTK software packages from ROS to ROS 2 with minimal structural changes.
During Stage II, Stratom is one of just four organizations selected to focus on larger architectural changes that move incrementally closer to the desired target architecture.
Andrew Dallas, deputy executive director of NAMC, says: “The National Advanced Mobility Consortium is proud to serve as the leading platform in advancing innovation for manned and unmanned autonomy-enabled military solutions for ground systems in support of Department of Defense.
“To this end, NAMC is appreciative of Stratom’s ability and willingness to contribute their ground vehicle autonomy expertise towards developing a ROS 2 version of RTK that our members will be able to utilize and build upon to deliver autonomous capabilities for unmanned ground systems, such as the Robotic Combat Vehicle.”