Researchers at U.S. Army Research Laboratory have begun to develop new platforms and functionalities that aim to make autonomous robots work like teammates for uniformed personnel on the battlefield, the Army reported Thursday.
David Vergun writes Joseph Conroy, an electronics engineer with ARL’s electronics for sense and control team, said ARL researchers participated in a manned/unmanned teaming exercise in 2014 to determine how autonomous robotic systems could help soldiers perform missions in combat zones.
The Army Training and Doctrine Command-sponsored MUM-T exercise showed that a robot could help a warfighter detect improvised explosive devices and examine a building’s interior, according to the report.
“We want to push the level of autonomy up just enough so that there’s a specific suite of behaviors the robot can execute very efficiently and reliably based on the commander’s intent, with as little guidance as possible,” Conroy said.
Some of the research efforts launched by ARL to develop tools for use in a soldier-robot team include the development of algorithms that work to recognize and track targets, geolocation sensing tools designed to perform positioning functions in GPS-denied environments, speech recognition systems as well as data processing methods.
William Nothwang, team leader at ARL’s electronics for sensing control team, said the lab has also launched the “Continuous, Multifaceted Soldier Characterization for Adaptive Technologies” initiative that aims to develop methods designed to evaluate a soldier’s capability level, the report noted.