Stratom Showcases Autonomous Ground Systems at Xponential 2024: Insights from CEO Mark Gordon

At Xponential 2024 in San Diego, Inside Unmanned Systems sat down with Mark Gordon, CEO of Stratom, and Stefan Elsener, Senior Program Manager, to discuss their autonomous ground systems.

Autonomous Pallet Loader (APL). Image: Stratom.

IUS: We are live at Xponential 2024 in San Diego with Stratom. Could you introduce yourselves and talk about your roles at Stratom?

Mark Gordon: I’m Mark Gordon, President and CEO of Stratom. I’m responsible for all executive leadership, strategic direction, and our work with autonomous ground systems.

Stefan Elsener: Good morning. I’m Stefan Elsener, Senior Program Manager for Unmanned Ground Vehicles.

IUS: How long have you been coming to this event?

Mark Gordon: We’ve been involved with AUVSI for a long time, since around 2007, when the event was mostly held in the DC area. We’ve been exhibiting here for many years, and I’ve also served on the board of directors and as the chairman of the board for AUVSI.

IUS: Where is Stratom based?

Mark Gordon: We’re based in Louisville, Colorado, which is northwest of Denver.

IUS: Could you tell us more about your products and services?

Mark Gordon: At Stratom, we focus on ground robotics. We use robotic systems to move heavy cargo in outdoor, austere environments and also provide robotic refueling solutions for aircraft and ground vehicles. Our autonomy software, Summit, can be applied to our own vehicles and other customers’ vehicles to make them autonomous.

IUS: What are some of the use cases and applications for your technology?

Mark Gordon: We primarily work with the Department of Defense, helping move cargo on the battlefield, in landing zones, and at forward bases. We’re also pivoting to the commercial sector, applying our technology to the mining and trucking industries.

IUS: So you’re shifting from defense to commercial applications?

Mark Gordon: Yes, we’re leveraging the technology developed under our defense contracts and migrating it to commercial environments.

IUS: Can you discuss any upcoming developments or projects you’re excited about?

Mark Gordon: We’re working on several contracts with the Department of Defense, focusing on cargo movement. We’re developing systems for the Marine Corps and the Air Force to move cargo from aircraft to landing zones and offload it autonomously. Some projects involve sophisticated autonomous pickup and drop-off, while others focus on quickly dropping off cargo outside aircraft.

IUS: As long-term members and exhibitors, what industry trends are you seeing this year?

Mark Gordon: There’s a strong focus on robotics within warehouses, but we’re seeing a shift towards more austere, outdoor environments. Companies are adopting more autonomous systems outside of controlled environments. Our refueling technology is also seeing interest from companies looking to automate refueling processes in distribution centers.

Stefan Elsener: The technology is maturing to a point where jobs that are dull, dirty, and dangerous can be automated. As certain job categories struggle to attract talent, we’re seeing more demand for autonomous solutions to fill those gaps.

IUS: Is this change driven more by technology advancements or shifts in workforce demographics?

Stefan Elsener: It’s a combination of both. Technology has matured to a level where its practical applications are being realized, and there’s a growing trust in these systems. Additionally, workforce demographics are changing, leading to a higher demand for automation in traditionally less desirable job roles.

IUS: Any closing thoughts or initiatives you’d like to share with our audience?

Mark Gordon: We’ve been deeply involved with the autonomous systems industry for a long time and are proud members of AUVSI. This show is a fantastic opportunity to see the latest technology across various domains—air, land, and sea. It’s the premier event for anyone interested in autonomous systems.

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