SANDY -- Kairos Autonomi, a manufacturer of the Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System and located in Sandy, Utah, has been awarded a contract by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Patuxent River, Maryland, for the Navy Moving Land Target Program.
This contract for MLT, a program of record, includes a Base Year and four Option Years that will conclude March of 2014. At contract award, the Navy procured more than $5.1 million in production hardware and contract support. Negotiated option years allow for additional procurements. The contract allows for the procurement of hardware that will satisfy the Navy Tactical Training requirements. With this award, Kairos will become the largest robotic manufacturer by volume of full-size unmanned ground vehicle systems in the world.
The Pronto4 system is a robotic applique kit that enables automobiles to drive themselves by following a pre-defined GPS path or via remote operation. The Navy intends to use the Pronto4 systems on pick-up trucks that will be used as unmanned moving targets that Navy pilots can fire upon during training exercises. The vehicles will be used nationwide as part of the Navy's fleet training requirements, which provides Naval aviators the opportunity to engage upon realistic moving land targets.
The target vehicles are meant to act and look like an enemy combatant vehicle that often resembles an unmarked pick-up truck with a machine gun or other mounted weapon or as simply a truck load of enemy combatants. Unmarked commercial vehicles are regularly encountered in theater and are a dangerous threat to U.S. military ground troops due to their mobility, elusiveness, and unpredictability. "This program provides immense value to the Navy and other service organizations," said Troy Takach, President and CEO of Kairos Autonomi. "The ability to have threat representative targets in training sharpens our aviation warfighter's ability to remove threats effectively while minimizing collateral damage."
A number of Utah organizations have nurtured Kairos Autonomi as a small business. The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Utah both played keys roles in developing Kairos Autonomi's technology. Since 2006, GOED has continuously promoted unmanned systems within its Utah Defense and Homeland Security Economic Cluster, while MEP helped Kairos Autonomi develop a quality management system based on international ISO 9000 standards, and to assist with the ISO registration audit process. ISO 9000 was a key requirement for the Moving Land Target contract.
"This contract award is a win for the state of Utah," said Troy Takach, President and CEO of Kairos Autonomi. "We have partnered with other Utah companies such as Autonomous Solutions Inc. and VPI Engineering to deliver key pieces of the contract deliverables. Bringing this business to Utah demonstrates that the state is and will continue to be a premier provider of unmanned vehicle technology."
Robotic applique kits are the future of unmanned systems technology, Takach said, and the successful use of the kits in training operations will see them increasingly used in adjacent and future markets. For example, Kairos Autonomi will be using the Pronto4 system as part of a Utah-based team that is competing in the Robotics Range Clearance Competition scheduled for August 2011 and sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The competition is part of an effort to bring automation and unmanned systems technology to unexploded ordinance (UXO) clean-up on munitions ranges.