MassRobotics hosted the Annual Robotics in Defense event on April 3 ,2023. Past years have included focuses on needs and challenges of the Navy, Army, Homeland Security and information on how startups can engage with various DoD agencies. This year the focus was around the challenges and opportunities at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).   They manage the end-to-end global defense supply chain – from raw materials to end user disposition – for the five military services, 11 combatant commands, other federal, state and local agencies and partner and allied nations.

The  event, sponsored by MITRE, began with DLA defining their challenges and discussing what they are looking for from solution providers.  Presentations included  technology requirements, gaps and needs and focused on:

  • Inventory Management – currently resource intensive and sometimes inaccurate
  • Material Distribution – moving materials, packing, palletizing
  • Asset Visibility – maintaining traceability of supply chain and transactions

Adam Price provided a DLA overview including mission and vision, structure and subordinate commands, and relationship to the defense department and services.  He shared details on their troop support, aviation, land and maritime support, as well as energy distribution and disposition services.   He shared areas for research and development that included logistics, manufacturing and discussed the DLA Technology Accelerator and OTA Program.

Manuel Casas provided a research and development program overview and discussed challenges in the areas of inventory management, material distribution and asset visibility.  Their goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the DLA mission.  He shared their proposed solution and roadmap for the 5G smart-warehouse that included a testbed, inventory distribution technologies and prototype testing . You can view one pager summary here.

Following the DLA presentations, several startups provided overviews of their technologies and potential solutions to some of the challenges discussed. 

Startup pitches included:

  • Black-I Robotics – mobile arm and stealth movable warehouse for operations
  • Cleo Robotics – safe small drone for inspection and ISR missions
  • German Bionic – active powered exoskeleton for human augmentation
  • Dephy – ankle/boot exoskeleton for walking/running augmentation
  • Southie Autonomy – packing and kitting operations, no experience needed to run/change operations
  • Apptronik- humanoid for human-like operations
  • Element Exo – passive, unpowered body augmentation

Startups provided demos during the networking reception that followed the presentations.  

DLA visitors were from across the U.S. including: South Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Washington DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

They spent a 2nd day in Massachusetts visiting others in the robotics ecosystem who shared technology solutions.  They included Vecna Robotics, Boston Dynamics, Humatics and Dexai.  We look forward to sharing additional technologies in the Boston ecosystem with DLA on their next visit later this fall around the annual RoboBoston Robot Block Party.

Learn more about our signature series events here.