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."
A recent collaboration between Rapid Equipping Force and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence brought together solutions from Segway Robotics, DRS 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 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.
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.
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
If you are interested in learning more about the RMP440 LE or 5D Robotics Technology, contact us today.
|Australia’s Marathon Targets plans to more than double the number of live-fire moving trainers for the Australian Army by the end of the year.
The objective is to train soldiers to shoot live ammunition at human-like moving targets before heading into actual combat situations.
Marathon Targets (http://www.marathon-targets.com/) successfully demonstrated their smart target system during a live fire demonstration at Quantico Marine Base. Marathon’s systems are developed on both the Segway RMP200 and RMP400. To view a short video of the demonstration, click here.
For more information on the full line of Segway’s robotic platforms, please visit http://rmp.segway.com/.
Segway ground robot platforms are the ideal starting point for applications used in research and development at universities. Segway’s RMPs are designed with simplicity in mind, which means that universities will have the freedom to choose and integrate the best hardware for their specific application.
For example, a university that is currently using Segway RMPs in their research and development studies is the University of Philadelphia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
They have designed the PhillieBot, which is a one armed, three-wheeled robot built atop a Segway RMP 200. The PhillieBot has recently thrown the opening pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies game. To learn more about the PhillieBot, check out the video below.
Video © Copyright 2011 Philadelphia Media Network Inc.
For more info about research and development opportunities please contact us or request a quote. For more information about the PhillieBot, click here.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Autonomous Systems (CAS) entered the RoboCup@Home competition this year with a new personal assistance robot built on a Segway RMP 100 mobile robot platform. The CAS is the second largest robotics research group in the world with representation from the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney
The RoboCup@Home competition judges navigation, mapping, object recognition, and human-robot interaction in realistic, home-like environments. RoboCup@Home is the largest international annual competition for autonomous service robots.
The MDS (mobile, dextrous, social) robot combines mobile manipulation with verbal capabilities as well as facial expressions. Built on a Segway RMP 200 base platform, the MDS robot features laser and infrared rangefinders, color CCDs, microphones, and 7DOF hands. According to Xitome’s website, the RMP “provides a small footprint and ultimate maneuverability”. MDS is now available for purchase from Xitome.
The MDS ”Ocatvia” in the video below belongs to the US Navy. Developed to improve robot interactions with humans, the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence (NCARAI) outfitted Octavia with a Fast Linear Optical Appearance Tracker (FLOAT) system, Head Gesture Recognizer, Set Theoretic Anatomical Tracker (STAT), a VLAD Recognizer, and a “modified cognitive architecture” called ACT-R/E.
Video Credit: Science Friday
Photo Credit: Navy Center For Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence (NCARAI)
A team of students at Aalborg University used a Segway RMP for their Trajectory Planning and Control Project to develop an “autonomous robot, with fast dynamics, capable of traversing cluttered environments while avoiding humans and obstacles.” The larger objective is to improve human-robot interaction.