Scene Understanding for Semi-Autonomous Navigation (SUSAN)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-09-C-0131
Agency Tracking Number: A082-145-0536
Amount: $119,714.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: A08-145
Solicitation Number: 2008.2
Small Business Information
Charles River Analytics Inc.
625 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
DUNS: 115243701
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Magnús Snorrason
 Principal Scientist
 (617) 491-3474
Business Contact
 Gail Zaslow
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (617) 491-3474
Research Institution
The Army has a clear need for a small mobile robot capable of accompanying a single soldier. Such a robot would help solve both logistical problems of individual 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 robots exist; however, a common problem for those robots is that they need remote control or teleoperation. This makes it very difficult for the soldier to do anything else at the same time, such as look out for threats, or even just walk without tripping. A less cognitively demanding form of control is clearly needed that will allow the soldier to control the robot (or robots) and still perform his primary combat mission. We propose a Scene Understanding for Semi-Autonomous Navigation (SUSAN) system for the semi-supervised control of unmanned ground vehicles. The system allows a user to direct a vehicle from behind, using a touch-screen device, or from in front, by leading the way and issuing commands through arm/hand gestures. SUSAN achieves this using novel monocular scene understanding algorithms and robust tracking techniques, and does not require specialized robot-mounted sensors or soldier-worn markers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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