Adjustable Autonomy for Intelligent Operation of Mobile Manipulators

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W81XWH-11-C-0520
Agency Tracking Number: A11A-032-0250
Amount: $99,910.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: A11a-T032
Solicitation Number: 2011.A
Small Business Information
Traclabs, Inc.
100 Northeast Loop 410, Suite 520, San Antonio, TX, -
DUNS: 193786014
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Burridge
 Senior Scientist
 (281) 461-7886
 burridge@traclabs.com
Business Contact
 David Kortenkamp
Title: President
Phone: (281) 461-7886
Email: korten@traclabs.com
Research Institution
 Texas A&M University
 Freddie Hunter
 TEES
1470 William D. Fitch Parkway
College Station, TX, 77845-4645
 (979) 458-7617
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
In recent years, the military has been integrating robotic systems into tasks previously performed entirely manually by soldiers. Examples include explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), surveillance and reconnaissance, urban search and rescue (USAR), chemical, biological, and nuclear (CBN) operations, and medical assistance and evacuation. A typical application is for a soldier (remote operator) to teleoperate a mobile robotic platform (generally coupled with a simple manipulator) that is operating nearby often within direct line-of-sight. Although this technique removes the operator from the acute dangers surrounding the task, the rudimentary nature of current operator interfaces requires intense concentration and makes even simple tasks tedious. As a result, the personal risk to the operator is increased and the full capability of the mechanism is not realized. We propose to design and implement an adjustably autonomous control architecture for complex robot systems that combines robust autonomy with intuitive operator control. This work brings together decades of experience with autonomous control of the highly dexterous Robonaut and decades of experience in remotely operating robots in the field for USAR applications. The resulting system reduces the cognitive load on operators and increases effective utilization of robots in a wide variety of applications. Our dual-armed mobile robotic testbed (TRACBot) has 26 degrees of freedom, LIDAR, stereo, thermal, and color imaging sensors, and will be used for system evaluation and demonstration in several medically-relevant robotics scenarios.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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