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Army to Demo Insect Drone at Manned-Unmanned Teaming Drill

Army-RoboticsThe U.S. Army Research Laboratory and an industry consortium have built a small autonomous robot that seeks to mimic the visual sensing behavior of insects to navigate around complex environments.

ARL plans to demonstrate the robotic system in the branch’s upcoming manned and unmanned teaming drill to be held at the Maneuver Center of Excellence in Fort Benning, Georgia, the lab said Friday.

Dr. Joseph Conroy, an ARL electronics engineer, said the military exercise would test if the technology could deliver information to soldiers while they attempt to clear a building.

He added the goal “is to put the technology in the hands of soldiers, gather their feedback, and gain understanding about what will make autonomous systems more useful.”

The lab built the small drone in collaboration with the Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology Collaborative Technology Alliance led by BAE Systems.

MAST CTA participants include the University of Maryland, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Michigan, NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Pennsylvannia.

Brendan Byrne, robotic engineer at ARL, said the platform is also designed to navigate through a three-dimensional maze and stay away from obstacles without assistance.

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