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US Army Signs New Robotics Agreement

26 April 2010

The US Army has signed a new agreement to cooperate with the industry and academia in an effort to develop smart robots to work alongside warfighters.

The Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) will be expected to design autonomous robots to accomplish a broad range of missions and will receive an initial investment of $63.2m, with a further five-year extension that could take the total investment to $129.7m.

The Army Research Laboratory's chief of the robotics autonomous systems division, Jon Bornstein, said that CTA's research is expected to make autonomous robots accomplish more missions and take some of the burden off soldiers on the battlefield.

"I would like to see the CTA research demonstrate an unmanned system that can adapt to a dynamic environment and learn from its experiences," said Bornstein.

Bornstein compared the future use of robots in the army with the way soldiers work with dogs in K-9 units.

According to the CTA manager, the technology will be developed in the areas of perception, intelligence, human-robot interaction, dexterous manipulation and unique mobility to build robots with a significant level of autonomy.

A General Dynamics Robotic Systems-led consortium will work under the robotics agreement with eight other partners, including Boston Dynamics, Carnegie-Mellon University, California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Florida A&M University, QinetiQ North America, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Pennsylvania.