Robotics Mat Sinking Technology

Funded through a consortium Other Transactional Authority, Salas O’Brien is leading a team of cross-functional engineering experts to design, build, test, and commission an automated, articulated concrete mattress-sinking prototype for barge applications to support the US Army Corps of Engineers in their mission to maintain navigational waterways in the United States by reinforcing levee systems. The final system, ARMOR 1, will increase production rates, improve safety, and reduce costs. Current technology supports sinking 2,000 mat squares per day using four manually operated arms. The prototype leverages six autonomous lifting arms and doubles the capacity to sink 4,000 mat squares per day. The newly developed technology reduces the number of personnel exposed to industrial hazards on the mat deck from 100 to just 20, and the new design creates “human-only” zones, separating heavy machinery from worker areas.

Completion Year


Contract Cost

$79 million

Project Partners

Carnegie Mellon University, National Robotics Engineering Center, Bristol Harbor Group, American Bureau of Shipping Group

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