Charles River Analytics Builds Hands-Free Robotic Controls for the US Army

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has announced a follow-on contract to build a hands-free human-machine interface (HMI) for the US Army. The Supervisory HMI Enabling Practical Autonomous Robot Direction (SHEPARD) effort fuses multiple proven robot control technologies to provide a natural and reliable hands-free HMI for Soldiers operating in diverse environments. The two-year contract is valued at $1 million.

Unmanned vehicles (UxVs) are vital to military operations, although their widespread integration faces significant barriers. Most current UxV systems require active remote control or teleoperation, where a Commander orders a trained human operator to control the robot to carry out a task.

“Our approach to managing UxVs is in stark contrast with how robot operators currently direct platforms—they use cumbersome, hands-on, head-down controllers. Our goal is to develop controls that let robots seamlessly integrate into human teams,” said Stan German, Senior Scientist at Charles River Analytics.

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SHEPARD offers more natural and reliable communication so Commanders can issue instructions directly to UxVs. Under the effort, we are building a hands-free HMI that combines speech and gestures to enable reliable command and control of multiple unmanned vehicles. SHEPARD will use smart devices—like a watch—for easy communication with military robots.

SHEPARD will reduce the cognitive burden on Warfighters and their Commanders, increase trust within human-robot teams, and accelerate the adoption of UxVs, helping to remove Warfighters from harm’s way.

Source: Charles River Analytics
Date: Jan 22, 2018