Intelligent systems solutions developer Charles River Analytics has won a contract for a soldier-machine interface for the US Army.
As part of the $1m, two-year contract, a new interface will be developed by the company in partnership with 5D Robotics for controlling robotic leader-follower systems in small team operations.
The multi-modal interface for natural operator teaming with autonomous robots (MINOTAUR) fuses multiple and robot control technologies to provide a hands-free interface for warfighters teaming with autonomous systems in challenging environments.
Charles River Analytics principal investigator Camille Monnier said: “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.
“The ultimate vision is to create a mule-like robot that is autonomous enough to offload warfighters while maintaining their trust.”
Operators can use voice and hand signals to send messages to a robot with Minotaur that can help robots communicate with, and send directions to other squads or assets.
Through reliable control, UGV robots that are Minotaur-enabled will reduce the cognitive burden on warfighters in the field and accelerate the adoption of these mule-like UGV systems.
Charles River Analytics Sensor Processing and Networking division vice-president Rich Wronski said: “The Minotaur programme 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.
“We look forward to continued collaboration and more autonomy-related breakthroughs in the years to come.”
Image: The Minotaur system’s view of the world. Photo: courtesy of Charles River Analytics.