The Silicon Review
Clearpath Robotics is a global leader in unmanned vehicle robotics for research and development and provides hardware, software, and services to enable self-driving vehicle development, deployment, and operation. The company works with over 500 of the world’s most innovative brands in over 40 countries, serving markets that span industrial materials handling, mining, military, agriculture, aerospace, and academia. It is an award-winning company with recent awards, including Robotics Business Review Top 50 Company, Edison Award for Innovation, and Business Insider Top 40 under 40, and Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
Clearpath Robotics is the brainchild of four University of Waterloo Mechatronics Engineering grads. With passion, ethics, and limited funds, Matthew Rendall, Ryan Gariepy, Pat Martinson, and Bryan Webb created a company dedicated to automating the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs. After experiencing their own frustrations in the lab, they wanted to make robotics research easier. Persisting, failing, iterating and finally succeeding on the build of their first unmanned vehicle, Clearpath Robotics was born.
Since then, the company has grown. It has robots and customers all over the world. Its offices are bigger and have real desks, but have held on to the spirit with which it began: be genuine, listen to customers, and keep it beautifully simple.
“Our team is passionate about building robots for the greater good. We love to problem solve, make innovative ideas a reality, and play the occasional game of frisbee over lunch,” says Matt Rendall, CEO of Clearpath Robotics.
Robotic Automation Services
Clearpath takes a pragmatic approach to the design and development of complex autonomous systems. Its multi-disciplinary team operates within the bounds of what’s technically feasible while ensuring safety, efficiency, and quality throughout your project. By keeping the efforts nimble and highly collaborative, the company is able to integrate design, problem-solving, requirements tracking, and life cycle integration in a way that facilitates fast learning through rapid iterations.
Perception And Mapping
Situational awareness is the core of autonomous robotic systems. Through innovative sensor fusion and point cloud processing, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) constructs a map of the environment while tracking the robot’s location in parallel. Object classification and tracking identify and tag points of interest for the robot to map.
Navigation And Control
Dynamic path planning determines the discrete motions required to accomplish desired tasks and maintains the route through linear and angular velocity commands at each instant of time. Safety and error handling are paramount to usability and run parallel to the planning and control operations.
Simulation is essential for evaluation of mathematically complex and safety-sensitive environments. Before deployment, it uses comprehensive simulation to assess the interactive and environmental performance of your autonomous system.
A proud supporter of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), Clearpath was an early adopter of the Robot Operating System (ROS) and has more deployed more robots running ROS to the field than any other organization. With one of the largest ROS development teams in the world, Clearpath has industry-leading expertise in the design and development of ROS software and ROS powered robotic systems.
A Customer Story
Bomb-Detecting Husky To Remove Killer Landmines
Portugal’s Coimbra University is one of the oldest universities in the world, but their ISR Embedded Systems Lab is doing cutting-edge research into methodologies for autonomous humanitarian demining.
A Project To End Over 20,000 Deaths Per Year
Minesweeping is an extremely dangerous process and is mostly completed by human operators; over 20,000 people are killed by mine-related accidents per year. At the current rate, it would take close to 1,100 years to remove all active landmines in the world. Dr. Lino Marques, Sr. Lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department is aiming to create the first autonomous demining platform strong enough to surpass the research phase; “there has been a constant interest in autonomous demining, however, none of the previous solutions proved to be robust enough to go past the research phase.” Robustness being key to his research, Dr. Marques and team have selected a Clearpath Husky Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV).
Husky Kickstarts Life-Saving Prototype
The team at the University of Coimbra chose Husky UGV because of its ability to handle rugged environments and take on a variety of payloads. Husky works with ROS out of the box, meaning that Marques’s team could get started right away; “without the Husky, we would have developed its own mine detection robot from scratch, which we didn’t have the time or resources to do,” he said.
Research Ahead Of Schedule
The teams’ Husky was outfitted with navigation and localization sensors, ground penetration radar and a custom 2DOF robotic arm with a metal detector. A stereo vision system is used to perceive the rugged terrain, while depth imaging is accomplished by state-of-the-art point cloud perception algorithms. Now, Husky has been integrated into a larger FP7 European project called Tiramisu. Marques says that his team is “way ahead of schedule.”
The Man Behind The Picture
Matt Rendall, CEO: Fueled by a potent combination of ambition and determination Matt can typically be found trying to take over the world one robot at a time. No obstacle is too large, no detail too small. Give the man a green tea and watch him go!
Developing the vision and strategic direction of this high-growth robotics company, Matt believes that robots will change the way the world works and is passionate about helping companies find rapid-ROI through the adoption of service robots. In pursuit of this objective, he is leading a transformation at Clearpath with aspirations to become the world’s first $1B service robotics company. Matt has been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2013 and Profit Magazine in 2011.