TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems
OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a handheld robotics and armament controller that can receive information from combined group of manned and unmanned platforms treated as a single operator control unit.
DESCRIPTION: Mounted/dismounted computing platform architectures will rely on multiple unmanned systems to perform focused mission; i.e. mapping, reconnaissance, fire mission execution, etc. Recent advances in agent software technologies, and high bandwidth wireless communication, allow for multi-sensory based perception, collaborative planning, 3D visualization technology and intelligent control to enable a new generation of multi-platform controller capable of mixed initiative planning, task execution and control within a manned-unmanned teaming environment. This represents a revolution advance in current controller technology in which any mission involving multiple unmanned platforms, requires an operator to manually break the group mission into individual unmanned platform tasks/subtasks before he/she can use the vehicle’s mission planner. The operator has to manually address deconflicition issues like planning the vehicle’s reconnaissance route to avoid friendly fire, avoid overlap and plan individual ingress/egress paths for each unit. The key technical challenge will be to provide an integrated architecture and solution that addressed fundamental problems of mobility, flexible task level control and automation, multi-sensor integration, multi-platform coordination associated with network centric, manned-unmanned teaming operation in complex environments. Technical issues of interest include brain-computer interface, task handoff and visualization, multi-platform control strategies, knowledge based task level control including path planning, navigation, permission based control, and real-time dynamic planning/re-planning. The Handheld robotics and armament controller will be a portable, wireless, networked device that can compute and display map data, maneuver graphics representations, and tactical information on a handheld lightweight device to improve situational awareness of the dismounted soldier in GPS and GPS denied areas. Control approaches should address issues related to multi-platform autonomous control, handoff, hierarchical planning, and deconfliction. The mission planner portion should factor in input from user to develop optimized plans for the use of the systems.
PHASE I: Conduct research to develop the design methodology, computation approaches and architecture concepts to support the design and implementation of a prototype multi-platform manned/unmanned system mission controller. Define system concept and hardware/software architecture and functional specification.
PHASE II: Based on Phase I research results develop a proof of concept robotic armament controller prototype and demonstrate its operation with platforms in a networked, manned/unmanned teaming scenario. Optimize algorithms and design approach based on experimental results and provide complete documentation of algorithms, architecture and component software.
PHASE III: There are many dual use applications of the underlying multi-platform mission planning and control architecture and information processing infrastructure which be readily adaptable to support homeland security application, law enforcement, border patrol and search and rescue applications. The technology will provide leaders on the ground with the ability to plan, manage, control and coordinate actions of both manned and unmanned assets in real time and optimize achievement of team goals in distributed, network environment.
1: B. Larochelle, G. M. Kruijff, N. Smets, T. Mioch, and P. Groenewegen, "Establishing Human Situation Awareness Using a Multi-Modal Operator Control Unit In An Urban Search & Rescue Human-Robot Team", IEEE Intern. Symp. On Robot and Human Interactive Comm., July 31 – August 3, Atlanta, GA (2011).
2: N. Checka, S. Schaffert, D. Demirdjian, J. Falkowski, and D. H Grollman, "Handheld Operator Control Unit", 7th ACM/IEEE Intern. Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, pp. 137138, March 5-8, Boston, MA (2012).
3: J. Crossman, R. Marinier and E. B. Olson, "A Hands-Off, Multi-Robot Display for Communicating Situation Awareness to Operators", Intern. Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), pp. 109-116, May 21-25 (2012).
4: B. Larochelle, G. M. Kruijff, N. Smets, T. Mioch P. Groenewegen, "Establishing Human Situation Awareness Using a Multi-Modal Operator Control Unit In An Urban Search & Rescue Human-Robot Team", IEEE RO-MAN: The 21st IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, September 9-13, Paris, France. (2012).
KEYWORDS: Artificial Intelligence, Software Agents, Robotics, Decentralized Control, Autonomy, Sensor-shooter Links, Mission Planner, Autonomous Control, Distributed Robotics, Intelligent Control