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.
Segway’s newest mobile robot prototype, ARTI, was featured in the December 2012 issue of Ground Combat Technology Magazine. Please click here to read the issue.
Segway’s ARTI is a functional prototype unmanned vehicle chassis that features articulated steering for exceptional off-road performance. Its potential applications as a mobile platform for robotic systems used by warfighters and leveraged for the ground combat market are wide reaching.
In an effort to further refine this proof-of-concept, which is sure to become a relevant component of powerful and efficient ground combat systems, Segway would like to collaborate with defense customers interested in using ARTI for our mutual mobile robotics research.
The ARTI platform leverages articulated steering and can accommodate the transportation of heavier payloads over more aggressive terrain. It utilizes a two degree of freedom joint to permit roll and yaw rotation. This flexibility enables the platform to quietly traverse challenging terrain while continually maintaining four points of contact with the ground.
The ARTI platform leverages Segway’s latest RMP Centralized Controller Architecture, which allows simple and intuitive communication with the platform over Ethernet, CAN or USB. System designers can set a variety of performance parameters including acceleration and deceleration rate limits, turning radius and top speed. An integrated auxiliary power module provides DC power for task specific sensors, radios and other equipment and payload items.
Segway Robotics – ARTI Prototype Specifications:
▪ Length: 53 inches
▪ Width: 33 inches
▪ Height: 23 inches
▪ Weight: 300 lbs.
▪ Ground Clearance: 11 inches
▪ Maximum All-Terrain Payload Capacity: 600 lbs. (targeted)
▪ Maximum Forward/Backward Speed: Up to 18 mph/ 8.0 m/s
▪ Turn Envelope: Features a 4.5 foot turning radius, which enables it to turn around in an area smaller than one lane of a standard road.
▪ Battery Chemistry: Lithium Ion (LiFeP04)
▪ Run Time: Up to 20 hours in standby mode
These specifications are preliminary and do not necessarily represent this prototype’s limitations.
Would you like to stay connected with Segway Robotics? You can — by checking out the RMP Customer Forum, visiting Segway Robotics to sign up for our newsletter and RSS feed or following us on Twitter.
|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.”