CRA & 5D Robotics to Develop Soldier-Machine Interface for US Army

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has announced a follow-on award for a soldier-machine interface for the US Army. Charles River Analytics will continue to team with 5D Robotics to develop an intuitive interface for controlling robotic leader-follower systems in small team operations. The Multi-Modal Interface for Natural Operator Teaming with Autonomous Robots, or MINOTAUR, fuses multiple, proven leader-tracking and robot control technologies to provide a reliable, hands-free interface for Warfighters teaming with autonomous systems in challenging environments. The total contract covers two years and is valued at $1M.

“This is a particularly exciting project for us because MINOTAUR fuses novel technologies developed by a multi-disciplinary team of robotics, computer vision, natural language processing, and human factors experts at Charles River,” said Camille Monnier, Principal Investigator on the effort. “The ultimate vision is to create a mule-like robot that is autonomous enough to offload Warfighters while maintaining their trust.”

With MINOTAUR, operators can use voice and hand signals to send messages to a robot.

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MINOTAUR can help robots communicate with, and relay directions to other squads or assets. The robot can become a true support agent as part of a human-robot team, requiring direct teleoperation only to execute specific tasks that need the most human skill, such as disarming or detonating an IED. Through natural and reliable control, MINOTAUR-enabled UGV robots will reduce the cognitive burden on Warfighters in the field, increase trust in human-robot teams, and remove Warfighters from harm’s way, thus accelerating the adoption of these mule-like UGV systems.

“The MINOTAUR program continues a decade-long relationship with US Army TARDEC during which we’ve pioneered numerous advances in unmanned systems capabilities geared to the needs of the Warfighter,” said Rich Wronski, Vice President, Sensor Processing and Networking division.  “We look forward to continued collaboration and more autonomy-related breakthroughs in the years to come.”

Source: Charles River Analytics Inc.
Date: Nov 4, 2016