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Monocular Unmanned Leader-Follower (MULE-F) System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-10-C-0442
Agency Tracking Number: A10A-030-0359
Amount: $99,931.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: A10A-T030
Solicitation Number: 2010.A
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2010-09-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-03-22
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
DUNS: 115243701
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Camille Monnier
 Senior Scientist
 (617) 491-3474
Business Contact
 Ninos Hanna
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (617) 491-3474
Research Institution
 Boston University
 John F Imbergamo
Office of Sponsored Programs 25 Buick Street
Boston, MA 2215
United States

 (617) 353-4365
 Nonprofit College or University

The Army has a clear need for a small 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 from up to 50m away and travelling at up to 20Kph, using lightweight UGV-mounted passive sensors 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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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