Research@ARL: Autonomous Systems. Volume 2, Issue 2
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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Unlike the apocalyptic scenarios envisioned in the movies, autonomous systems perform critically helpful roles for today s Soldiers and first responders. Routinely aerial platforms surveil large areas of urban terrain without an on-board pilot. Ground platforms neutralize improvised explosive devices on streets in Baghdad and investigate the radiated environment of the disabled Fukushima Nuclear Plant. For over a decade, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory ARL has contributed significantly to the development of technologies capable of enabling autonomous behavior by mobile platforms. This volume presents some of those contributions and this introduction provides context for the research performed at ARL. Human fascination with animating the inanimate is as old as the Golem from Jewish folklore. The Golem is a creature of mud that can be animated with magic words, but it is not intelligent when commanded to perform a task, it performs its instructions literally, without nuance or understanding. In fact, a modern version of the Golem legend gave us the word robot. Karel Capek, a Czech playwright, introduced and popularized the word robot from the Czech word for labor, robota in his 1921 science fiction play Rossum s Universal Robots. Since that time, the entertainment industry has created a wide variety of robotic platforms, in various shapes and sizes with various levels of intelligence1. Hollywood s terrestrial robots range from R2D2 and Wall-E to the anthropomorphic C3PO and the Terminator, and provide us with a visual taxonomy for characterizing platforms.
- Navigation and Guidance
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems