iRobot has developed a new universal control system for its unmanned vehicles, which are used by armed forces, first responders and industrial customers worldwide.
Made up of an android-based controller and the uPoint Robot Radio, the uPoint multi-robot control (MRC) system is designed to simplify robot operations, including driving, manipulation and inspection, enabling operators to focus more on the mission.
Compatible with a range of consumer Android-based touchscreen tablets, the system features a virtual joystick, which allows users to touch and drag anywhere on the main video feed to steer the robot, and predictive drive lines to guide operators through tight spots.
iRobot Defense and Security business unit senior vice-president and general manager Frank Wilson said: "Success as a robot operator during high-stress, critical operations depends on precise and reliable control, so the interface needs to be intuitive.
"We've leveraged decades of experience working with robot operators and held dozens of user focus groups to develop the uPoint MRC system.
"The uPoint MRC system drives mission effectiveness by decreasing training time and increasing overall ease of use. With uPoint, you point and the robot goes."
Integrated with autonomous driving modes, including vector drive to hold a desired heading, and video recording capability, the system simplifies manipulation with direct control of the arm on a virtual model, and allows for data sharing from the operator's controller to other team members or remote observers.
The system is capable of consulting reference materials, checking email and using other non-robot related mission apps from the Android device, and has enhanced sustainment due to remote software updates, embedded training tutorials and built-in maintenance functions.
In addition, the presence of uPoint Robot Radio enables the robot to travel deeper into complex structures and further downrange than previously possible.
Scheduled to be made available for purchase from the second quarter of 2015, the uPoint MRC system will be displayed at the upcoming AUSA 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Exposition, later this month.
Image: The uPoint MRC system increases proficiency by simplifying robot operations, including driving, manipulation and inspection. Photo: courtesy of the iRobot Corporation.