Olis Robotics and Tethers Unlimited Launch Development of New Remotely Operated “Smart” Robots for Space Stations

New collaboration explores development of a new variable-autonomy remote robotic manipulator to support space habitats and International Space Station operations

Seattle, WA, July 2019 – Olis Robotics, a leader in next-generation mobile remote robotics software, today announced a new agreement with Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI), a leader in high-performance components and innovative systems for space applications. The two Washington-based technology leaders signed an agreement to leverage their unique hardware and software expertise to explore development of a new remotely operated robotic products to address the unmet needs of existing operations aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and for future space habitats.
“Olis Robotics’ machine learning and artificial intelligence technology will set the standard for robotics leading future space exploration. Our variable autonomy software platform allows operators anywhere in the world to command new levels of precision, safety and efficiency in remotely operating robotics in space,” explained Olis Robotics CEO, Don Pickering. “We’re solving the challenges of providing remote operators safe, reliable and efficient command and control capability over communication channels with time delay and dropouts. The technological leap will be mandatory, especially for manipulators in space.”
The new collaboration follows several successful partnerships between the two technology leaders. Over the past year, Olis Robotics’ has been supported TUI’s NASA-funded MANTIS and FabLab programs by providing enhanced command and control capability for TUI’s KRAKEN robotic manipulator product line. Olis Robotics platform allow robots to perform some tasks autonomously and reduce operator workload on other tasks leading to safer, more efficient operation. 
“Our collaboration with Olis Robotics will integrate advanced teleoperation and variable autonomy capabilities in our KRAKEN arm and MANTIS payload, providing the ability to offload menial, repetitive tasks from the astronauts to remote operators. Imagine how much more science we can get out of the ISS if we can have a graduate student in a lab controlling experiments that currently we’d need to wait weeks or months to have an astronaut do,” said Dr. Rob Hoyt, President and CEO at TUI. “We expect this collaborative effort to enable lower costs when performing existing operations, address the needs of future space habits, and help enable humanity to be a space faring society.”
Tethers Unlimited and Olis Robotics’ will leverage their developed technologies to enable a market focused product that will provide operators the ability to remotely conduct in-space experiments and test materials and manufacturing processes. This partnership is expected to produce a viable remotely operated robotic solution for space habitats such as the ISS as early as next year.