RFT's two goals are to "enable rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities designed to respond to, and even anticipate, quickly evolving needs in space, maritime, ground, and air operations", and "achieve breakthrough capabilities in less time and at a fraction of the cost typical of government-supported robotic development processes by engaging highly agile organizations and individuals who traditionally have not worked with the U.S. government".
Erle will develop the Hardware Robot Operating System (H-ROS), described as "a project that will create easily reusable and reconfigurable robot hardware components, providing a game-changing and homogenous platform for manufacturers and users".
RFT elaborates: "With H-ROS, you will be able to build robots by placing H-ROS-compatible hardware components together. Constructing and repairing robots won't be restricted to a few with high technical skills but will instead be extended to a great majority with a general understanding of the four H-ROS part types: cognition, communication, sensing, and actuation."
To date, Erle is the only non-US company to benefit from DARPA's RFT cash. It recently released the bijou PXFmini shield for the Raspberry Pi Zero, offering a cheap Linux autopilot for those developing drones under tight budget and weight restrictions. ®