Machinery & Automation

University Researchers Give Self-Driving Vehicles a Boost

While the future of vehicles may be driverless, West Virginia University is steering the technology in the right direction. More and more cars being sold today include semi-automated features ranging from self-parking to lane departure to automatic braking, but fully automated vehicles are on the horizon. WVU’s researchers are working to improve vehicle and smart infrastructure technology that underpins their development and their benefit to communities in areas such as safety, energy, traffic, economic opportunity and more. One of those researchers is Victor Fragoso, an assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, whose research is focused on improving the artificial intelligence of autonomous agents, which includes driverless vehicles.

Posted in: News, Automotive, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Transducers, Automotive

Wave Glider Surfs Across Stormy Drake Passage in Antarctica

The Southern Ocean is key to Earth’s climate, but the same gusting winds, big waves and strong currents that are important to ocean physics make it perilous for oceanographers. So instead their job is increasingly being given to ocean drones, the autonomous floating vehicles that collect data from the world’s oceans. With an urgent need to better understand climate to predict how it will shift with more heat-trapping gases, scientists are developing new tools to measure waters below where satellites can penetrate, and in places that are too dangerous or expensive to reach regularly by research ship. They are also sending those instruments on increasingly ambitious missions.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense, Robotics

Controlling Drones with the Human Brain

A researcher from Arizona State University wants to command machines with the human brain. In fact, within ten years, Panagiotis Artemiadis, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University, envisions a swarm of brain-controlled drones playing a critical role in a range of applications, including agriculture and search-and-rescue operations.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Motion Control, Robotics

Airborne Sense-and-Avoid Radar for UAVs

Widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) within the National Airspace System is limited because of regulatory restrictions on their access to shared airspace. The Airborne Sense and Avoid (ABSAA) Radar Panel, a phased array antenna developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, has the potential to facilitate the introduction of UAVs into the national airspace.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Automation

Batteries That “Drink” Seawater Could Power Long-Range UUVs

The long range of airborne drones helps them perform critical tasks in the skies. Now MIT spinout Open Water Power (OWP) aims to greatly improve the range of unpiloted underwater vehicles (UUVs), helping them better perform in a range of applications under the sea.

Posted in: News, Defense, Energy Storage, Materials, Robotics

Robot’s Speed-of-Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

Cornell University researchers are developing a system to enable teams of robots to share information as they move around, and if necessary, interpret what they see. This would allow the robots to conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes. Beyond surveillance, the new technology could enable teams of robots to relieve humans of dangerous jobs such as disposing of landmines, cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown or surveying the damage after a flood or hurricane. The project, called “Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” is supported by a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Posted in: News, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Optics, Robotics

Experimental Confirmation of an Aquatic Swimming Motion Theoretically of Very Low Drag and High Efficiency

Researchers used an anguilliform swimming robot to replicate an idealized “wakeless” swimming motion.

It has been established theoretically that self-propulsion of deformable bodies in ideal fluid can occur with a careful specification of the deformation mode shape. With the fluid assumed ideal, vortex shedding, rotational wake, and induced drag would not occur. The implication is that for a real fluid, provided the existence of a thin boundary layer, similarly configured bodies with the same deformation mode shape self-propel without vortex shedding, rotational wake, and induced drag. Only viscous drag effects, due to the existence of the thin boundary layer, are present and unavoidable. The motion mode in question is the little-exploited anguilliform mode exhibited in some aquatic animal swimming. The Anguilla includes the snake, eel, lamprey, and leach, among others.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Automation, Water, Biological sciences, Robotics, Drag, Marine vehicles and equipment

Gesture-Based Controls for Robots: Overview and Implications for Use by Soldiers

Developing a more effective means to communicate with robotic devices.

Afuture vision of the use of autonomous and intelligent robots in dismounted military operations is for soldiers to interact with robots as teammates, much like soldiers interact with other soldiers. Soldiers will no longer be operators in full control of every movement, as the autonomous intelligent systems will have the capability to act without continual human input. However, soldiers will need to use the information available from, or provided by, the robot. One of the critical needs to achieve this vision is the ability of soldiers and robots to communicate with each other. One way to do that is to use human gestures to instruct and command robots.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Automation, Robotics, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics

A Guide for Developing Human-Robot Interaction Experiments in the Robotic Interactive Visualization and Experimentation Technology (RIVET) Simulation

Using computer gaming technology to improve the interaction between humans and unmanned ground vehicles.

ARL's Intelligent Systems Enterprise vision is to enable the teaming of autonomous intelligent systems with soldiers in dynamic, unstructured combat environments, as well as in non-combat military installations and base operations. To accomplish this vision for interdependent soldier-robot teaming, there has been a paradigm shift in robotic research conducted by ARL from the current instantiation of fielded remote-controlled or teleoperated robots to systems with increased intelligence, decision-making capability, and autonomy. This type of teaming is needed for future joint, interdependent, network-enabled operations.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Automation, Computer simulation, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

Identifying the Flow Physics and Modeling Transient Forces on Two-Dimensional Wings

Using mathematics and modeling to understand the flow physics of aircraft wings undergoing highly unsteady maneuvers.

The main objective of this research was to better understand the flow physics of aircraft wings undergoing highly unsteady maneuvers. Reduced-order models play a central role in this study, both to elucidate the overall dynamical mechanisms behind various flow phenomena (such as dynamic stall and vortex shedding), and ultimately to guide flight control design for vehicles for which these unsteady phenomena are important.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Automation, Robotics, Wings, Mathematical models, Aerodynamics