Segway Robotics Contributes to Robots Becoming Army Squad Members

RMP 440X

The article “U.S. Army foresees robots becoming squad members – Autonomous, bomb-sensing vehicles and personal robotic assistants could transform teams of soldiers written by Sharon Gaudin appeared in Computerworld’s July 25, 2013 issue. To follow is an excerpt.

 

 

"We’re looking at the vehicle being able to decide when to assume responsibility," said Greg Hudas, the Army’s chief engineer for ground vehicle robots. "We’re looking into the problem of the machine understanding the consciousness of humans. Are they drowsy or are they so intent on another task that if they take control of the vehicle, will it be dangerous? The interaction needs to be tightly coupled between the human and the machine."

To get some of the "smarts" into the robots, the Army is working with 5D Robotics Inc., a robotics software company, which in turn is working with DRS Technologies and Segway Inc. 5D said it is trying to integrate human behaviors into robots, such as robotic assistants that carry soldier’s packs or small wheeled robots the size of a big shoe box that can carry cameras into dangerous areas.

Jackie Fenn, an analyst with Gartner Inc. said, "I do like that notion of the robotic assistant. What work you can offload to robots is a very promising angle. But trust is critical. You really get that by having it work. When humans see that there are things they wouldn’t be able to do without a robot, that’s when the real change in thinking happens. If you can send a robot in to check out a building and keep a soldier back and safe, then that really adds value."

5D Robotice   DRS

To learn more, please view the original article in its entirety here. To review additional and related coverage, please click here.

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Segway’s RMP440 LE Works with 5D Robotics’ Software to Lighten a Soldier’s Load

A recent collaboration between Rapid Equipping Force and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence brought together solutions from  Segway RoboticsDRS Technologies and 5D Robotics to perform a comprehensive ‘lighten a soldier’s load’ evaluation at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. The robot’s mission was to follow and keep up with a squad while transporting a heavy payload and navigating a lengthy distance of varied terrain.

The assessment tested the Segway® RMP (Robotics Mobility Platform) 440 LE’s ability to carry 200 pounds of critical equipment including soldiers’ packs, sandbags, food and water and the ability of 5D Robotics’ Behavior Engine™ software to direct the platform.

Segway’s RMP440 LE

Segway’s RMP440 LE is a rugged, all-terrain, four-wheel drive mobility platform. Its design empowers developers to easily integrate their own equipment on top of the platform and build a customized application to meet specific needs. Click here to download a spec sheet.

5D’s Behavior Engine or “Follow Me” Technology

5D’s “follow me” technology acknowledges that like humans, robots need assistance to find their way. Once a human empowers a robot, they are capable of executing a multitude of tasks reliably and effectively.

5D’s solution emphasizes rapid, reactive, biologically inspired behavioral responses as opposed to the GPS, mapping, planning and continuous communication relied on by competitive solutions. It uses an innovative intelligent tag approach to guide interaction between robots and humans as well as between robots and other vehicles or objects.

5D’s Safety Commitment

1. Robot motion should be fast, responsive and graceful

2. Robot motion should be predictable and reliable to engender trust

3. Robots should never touch the human body unless explicitly told to do so

The AssessmentRMP440

The Segway RMP440 LE was fully loaded with equipment and included a generator that could be used to charge soldiers’ equipment. Over the course of 9 hours, the robot successfully followed the squad as well as traversed 16 miles of varied terrain without additional fuel or battery power. In fact, the robot maintained 33% of its generator fuel and 50% of its battery life.

The Evaluation

Soldier evaluations noted that the robot kept up with the patrol throughout the mission, was easy to understand and natural to use. Soldiers also valued the robot’s ability to carry a considerable amount of heavy gear.

Read Complete Coverage

Please click here to download a PDF of the article Keep on Running – 5D Robotics Tests Endurance Through Human-Robot Interaction Military Tests from 5D Robotics’ website.

Editorial Note

DRS Technologies’ Adaptive Mission Payload (AMP) kit and systems integration with the Segway RMP440 LE was originally tested at Fort Benning during the JIEDDO’s Endurance Challenge in June 2012. Click here  to view the blog post Adaptive Mission Payload Solution Wins Second Pace in JIDDEO’s Endurance Challenge.

See the RMP440 LE in Action

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Stay connected with Segway Robotics by checking out the the RMP Customer Forum, visiting the Segway Robotics website to sign up for our newsletter and RSS feed or following us on Twitter.

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If you are interested in learning more about the RMP440 LE or 5D Robotics Technology, contact us today.

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Adaptive Mission Payload Solution Wins Second Place in JIEDDO’s Endurance Challenge

Robotics Rodeo
On June 22, DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. in partnership with Segway and 5D Robotics competed in the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization’s (JIEDDO’s) Endurance Challenge at Fort Benning, Georgia. JIEDDOis an entity of the U.S. Department of Defense focused on reducing and eliminating the effects of all forms of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used against U.S. and Coalition Forces.The team’s Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) comprised of the Segway RMP-X440, 5D Robotics software and DRS Adaptive Mission Payload (AMP) systems integration earned second place in the ‘Dismounted’ category with a speed of 7.83 km/hour.  While much faster speeds are possible, this demonstration was intentionally focused on executing a functional behavior.  The limiting factor for speed was how fast the human leader could run 8.85 km in 94 degree heat.  The team demonstrated an autonomous leader/follower capability over the entire course, which set a record for the longest leader/follower behavior recorded by JIEDDO.

“Segway was honored to work with DRS and to take part in this Endurance Challenge,” said Al Kisler, Defense Strategy Advisor, Segway Inc. “The performance of the AMP solution speaks for itself.”

To view the official results of the JIEDDO 2012 Counter-IED Robotics Endurance Challenge in their entirety, please click here.  For additional information on DRS’ AMP, please click here.

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