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Robotic Teammates For US Soldiers

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We all focus on productivity and efficiency at our workplace. What could be the better way to become a master multi-tasker than having a robot act as one of your teammates?

What is it: A new technique has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to quickly teach robots novel traversal behaviors with minimal human oversight. The technique allows mobile robot platforms to navigate autonomously in environments while carrying out actions a human would expect of the robot in a given situation.

According to ARL researcher Drs. Maggie Wigness, one of their goals in autonomous systems research is to provide reliable autonomous robot teammates to the Soldier. To achieve this, Wigness said the robot must be able to use its learned intelligence to perceive, reason and make decisions.

Why it matters: While similar research exists in the field of robotics, what ARL is doing is especially unique.

“If a robot acts as a teammate, tasks can be accomplished faster and more situational awareness can be obtained,” Wigness said. “Further, robot teammates can be used as an initial investigator for potentially dangerous scenarios, thereby keeping Soldiers further from harm.”

According to Wigness, this preliminary research has helped the researchers demonstrate the feasibility of quickly learning an encoding of traversal behaviors.

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