Monocular Unmanned Leader-Follower (MULE-F) System
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
The Army has a clear need for an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) capable of autonomously accompanying a single soldier or vehicle. Such a UGV would help solve both logistical problems of soldiers needing to transport more equipment and supplies than they can carry in a backpack, and tactical problems of scouting unsafe areas. Multiple designs for such UGVs exist; however, they require active remote control or teleoperation, even for mundane tasks such as long-distance travel. Teleoperation is undesirable for these types of situations, as it requires"heads down"attention from the soldier, which reduces situational awareness and causes fatigue. We propose a Monocular Unmanned Leader-Follower (MULE-F) system for the autonomous tracking and following of a designated soldier or vehicle. The proposed system enables a UGV to autonomously follow a soldier or vehicle at operational following distances and speeds, using a single lightweight UGV-mounted video camera and requiring no modifications to the leader"s equipment. The system is specifically designed to operate in the presence of multiple visually-similar soldiers or vehicles by integrating the designated leader"s tracked kinematics with a learned appearance model, and may be controlled at a distance using intuitive arm/hand gestures.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Mark S. Felix
Research Institution Information:
Charles River Analytics Inc.
625 Mount Auburn Street Cambridge, MA -
Number of Employees:
Office of Sponsored Programs
25 Buick Street
Boston, MA 02215-
John F. Imbergamo