After locking eyes across a crowded room at ICRA 2019, Clearpath Robotics and HEBI Robotics basked in that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with starting a new and exciting relationship. Over a conference hall coffee, they learned that the two companies have many overlapping interests. The most compelling was the realization that customers across a variety of industries are hunting for an elusive true love of their own – a robust but compact robotic platform combined with a long reach manipulator for remote inspection tasks.

The application possibilities for such a system are vast, but both companies realized they had been seeing increased demand recently from industries looking to reduce risk to their employees.

Some of the most frequently named problems are:

  • Offshore oil and gas drilling platforms for inspection and turning of pressure valves.
  • Nuclear facilities requiring manipulation of contaminated items that need to be encapsulated into shield containers before humans can safely enter the area
  • Last-mile delivery applications for both civilian and military organizations

After ICRA concluded, Arron Griffiths, Application Engineer at Clearpath, and Matthew Tesch, Software Engineer at HEBI, kept in touch and decided there had been enough magic in the air to warrant further exploration. A couple of months later, Matthew arrived at Clearpath to formally introduce the HEBI’s X-Series Arm to Clearpath’s Jackal UGV. It was love. Check out the integration in action below.

Since the discontinuation of Kinova’s MICO, there has been a lack of a truly appropriate arm that suits the Jackal’s small stature. Arron and Matthew found the HEBI X-Series to be an excellent fit, and not just in terms of physical size. The HEBI offers some other distinct benefits, including:

  • Overall lightweight design makes it an easy payload to transport in the stowed position
  • No control box; simply wire power and ethernet directly from the Jackal to the first HEBI actuator.
  • The end-effector last rotation joint has an almost infinite rotation. This makes it ideal for screwing in parts, mixing, buffing, and getting the correct orientation for manipulation.

If you happen to have a Jackal and a HEBI X-Series Arm kicking around your lab and want to test out the integration for yourself, HEBI has published ROS tutorials to allow you to do so.

http://wiki.ros.org/hebi_cpp_api_examples

http://wiki.ros.org/hebi_cpp_api_examples/ClearpathJackal

Don’t have the necessary hardware? We’d be happy to help get you set up.

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