Sometimes the best is saved for last, and at Perrone Robotics (PRI) we’ve had one the best Q4s so far in our 15 year history! In Q4 we signed new customer contracts with three large multinational customers in the autonomous vehicle, industrial equipment, and consumer robotics verticals. We also continued to grow our workforce in the fourth quarter with 2 new hires and others soon to start. We’re very excited to see the promise of the MAX platform start to come to life in these different domains.
Starting with automotive, PRI continued building on its success with a European car manufacturer for which PRI has supplied its MAX platform and other autonomous technology. This customer, using our platform, had a very successful public roads trial overseas, and we acquired and started outfitting another vehicle for more production-level testing. This bring the total of autonomous vehicles to 4 for this customer (2 in the US and 2 overseas).
Still in the automotive segment, PRI entered into a new engagement with one of its technology partners to outfit a 2018 minivan with MAX and a general purpose retrofit hardware autonomy kit. We like to refer to this as “over-the-top” autonomy as we’ll deploy hardware to robotically control the vehicle, and then drive it with our MAX platform using our usual set of reference maneuvers for driving on roads and highways and avoiding obstacles, handling other vehicles on the road, dealing with lights, stop signs, intersections, round-abouts, etc. We expect to conclude this project in the Spring and continue our engagement with this partner over the coming year as we jointly explore other aspects of autonomy.
Within the industrial equipment sector we initiated another major effort that involves integrating the MAX platform into mining haul trucks weighing over 140,000 kgs! For this job we are integrating into sensors and control technology specified by the customer and using MAX to control the vehicle, avoid obstacles, and perform various communication and orchestration tasks with the site control. We’ll have a lot more to say about this project soon.
Finally, our fourth new engagement involves the development of three prototype small unmanned ground vehicles (“SUGVs”) for one of the largest multinational computer companies in the world. The SUGVs are intended to be used as test platforms by the computer company to explore and ultimately launch either personal or professional service robots in the marketplace with MAX as the underlying operating system.
All of this work means that our “stable” of autonomous vehicles and robots continues to grow. We currently have MAX integrated with a sedan manufactured by Lincoln, SUVs manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover, and a minivan manufactured by Honda, not to mention the elder statesmen “Tommy Sr” and “Tommy Jr” from the DARPA grand challenge days. Tommy Jr is getting some new work acting as a mule for our industrial project as our track isn’t really sized for a vehicle bigger than our garage! We’re also building out some of our orange bots illustrating the broad range of applications on which MAX can be deployed.
Saving the best for last here too, PRI continues to grow its highly-skilled workforce with the planned addition of an executive level employee, multiple software developers, and multiple hardware engineers. We’re accelerating our hiring program during the fourth quarter and into 2018. Let us know if you’re interested to join the team. Of course the work doesn’t stop here – we have many more projects with large customers in automotive, trucking, and other industries coming in early 2018. So as we head into the holiday season, we offer you best wishes during this holiday season and look forward to a great 2018!