5D Robotics in Carlsbad, Calif., and Charles River Analytics in Cambridge, Mass., won a $100,000 Small Business Innovations Research (SBIR) grant to develop and create an autonomous robot able to interact with, physically follow, and react to visual cues and hand gestures by soldiers. This ambitious military and aerospace (mil/aero) project is called “Multinodal Interface for Natural Operator and Teaming with Autonomous Robots (Minotaur).”
The new SBIR program is centered on 5D Robotics’ proprietary 5D Behavior Engine (BE), which includes Guarded Motion and Follow Me capabilities. The robot-side 5D BE software runs on unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unattended ground sensors (UGS), manned vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or other distributed military assets. The software includes behaviors for reactive guarded motion, obstacle avoidance and follow, and deliberative behaviors for mapping, localization, waypoint navigation, and path planning.
“5D works with the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, and defense subcontractors to develop unmanned system behaviors and plug and play mission payloads that increase performance and reduce workload for warfighters,” company officials say.
Charles River Analytics, a provider of intelligent systems to turn data into useful information and decisions, will contribute technologies related to vision-based tracking, gesture recognition, and processing. The combination of technologies from 5D and Charles River Analytics creates an autonomous robot that will respond much like a human, reacting to visual gestures when given by team mates.
This military and aerospace (mil/aero) geek follows virtually all things robotic with great interest. A favorite is Honda’s ASIMO, considered by some to be the world’s most advanced humanoid robot.