A Platform for Developing Autonomy Technologies for Small Military Robots

Report No. ARL-MR-709
Authors: Gary Haas; Jason Owens; Jim Spangler
Date/Pages: December 2008; 34 pages
Abstract: In order to study autonomous behaviors in small military robots, researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) renovated an existing but outdated ATRV research robot. Commercial sensors with capabilities resembling those anticipated from the military tech base were selected and integrated, and the computing capability was substantially enhanced by judiciously selecting commercial components. Support electronics were upgraded or replaced as necessary. Safety elements common in larger robotic vehicles were integrated into the small ATRV chassis. Systems software was selected to provide a stable foundation for the advanced functions envisioned. Player, a middleware widely used by academic robot researchers, was incorporated as a springboard to the agent-based behaviors believed necessary for the next phase of development in robotics. A distributed development environment was implemented to enable parallel software efforts. Issues in software architecture were identified, and architectures from the literature were investigated in search of a foundation for future work. Without major investment, the antiquated research robot has become a key element in ARL's quest to develop technologies for a highly capable robot to team with soldiers on tomorrow's urban battlefield.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2008