Search:  

 Blog     e-Newsletter       Resource Library      Directories      Webinars
AFCEA logo
 

Robotics

Five Firms Awarded Autonomous Systems Contracts

November 30, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
Five firms have been awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide program and configuration management, technical services, systems engineering, hardware and software development, material analysis, testing, repair, and installation services in support of projects for autonomous and non-autonomous systems, as well as, maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and information operations enabling technologies. All awardees will compete for task orders during the ordering period. Awardees and potential contract amounts are: Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Annapolis, Md., $64,767,382; DRS Technical Services Inc., Herndon Va., $63,032,636; Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., San Diego, Calif., Science Applications International Corp.,San Diego, $56,761,735; and General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Fairfax Va., $48,420,344. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Navy Lab Bridges the Research Bench and the Fleet

December 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new facility allows scientists to test innovations 
for autonomous and unmanned systems.

A new manmade realm allows robots to learn how to scale sheer cliff walls, go from the ocean to the beach or cross hot, burning desert sands. In this environment, researchers can examine the machines’ every move and how they interact with human warfighters. And one day, these robots also may help save sailors’ lives at sea.

Whether it flies through the air, moves on the ground or swims in the sea, the U.S. Navy now has a laboratory dedicated to testing and development of technologies for the next generation of robotic devices. The Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR) opened this spring on the campus of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) along the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It is designed to be a venue for multidisciplinary research into autonomous and unmanned systems, and is available to NRL researchers, as well as industry and academic scientists. The commitment to build LASR is part of the Navy’s overall push to make robotic devices a part of the future maritime force. The 50,000-square-foot facility was built at a cost of $18 million, says Alan Schultz, director of LASR and director of the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence. Currently, LASR is home to Schultz and only four permanent staffers. But, he explains, LASR is designed to be a bridge between researchers in other NRL divisions doing what he describes as “bench science,” and the Navy’s fleet, where shipboard prototypes are built and tested to determine if they meet the needs of warfighters.

Era of Change for 
Unmanned Systems

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

The next five years will be as exciting as the last decade--but in a different way.

Unmanned vehicles will undergo an array of changes in the coming years brought about by the war in Afghanistan winding down, budgets tightening and the national strategy shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Adjustments may include the retirement of some unmanned air systems, a stronger focus on refining existing unmanned planes rather than fielding new ones and increased research and development of land and maritime technologies.

The U.S. military will not be fielding many new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the current war, but the situation is not all gloom and doom, says Dyke Weatherington, director, Unmanned Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Strategic and Tactical Systems in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “The last 10 years have been very dynamic. We’ve seen rapid growth and huge increases in force structure. My guess is that the next five years will be equally dynamic in a different way. There’s huge potential for continued capability increases in ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] for the warfighter. I just think that’s going to look a little different than it has in the last 10 years.”

For the most part, that means the U.S. military will take capabilities it already has for UAVs and refine those as much as possible. Improvements could include fielding new capabilities to existing platforms, enhancing current payloads or reducing ownership costs, he explains.

Army Taps Industry and Academia to Advance Robotics

October 5, 2012
By Max Cacas

 

 

 

Robotic Device Lends Troops a Hand

August 17, 2012

A new robotic hand, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, mimics the capabilities of a human hand and could help disarm improvised explosive devices.

Boston Dynamics to Build Humanoid Robots for DARPA

August 15, 2012
By George Seffers

Boston Dynamics Incorporated, Waltham, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $10,882,438 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The contractor will develop and build a set of identical humanoid robot systems for use by performers in both phases of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge Program. This effort will develop robotic platforms consisting of two legs, a torso, on board computing, two arms with hands, and a sensor head. The robots to be delivered to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will be distributed to the top software development teams based on the results of the Virtual Disaster Challenge of the Robotics Challenge program. The contractor will also provide in-the-field support and as-required maintenance to the delivered systems. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.

Pushing Robots Toward Autonomy

October 5, 2011

U.S. Army researchers have enhanced the Talon robot with an array of technologies to make the system more autonomous. Upgrades include inertial navigation and Global Positioning System technologies, a 306-degree camera system and laser radar, upgraded power distribution boards, an e-stop system, Ethernet radios, control computers and software for running the system.

Microrobots Could Have Mega Impacts

September 12, 2011

Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory have discovered methods to make teensy robots perform an array of tasks on command.

Robots Up in Arms

May 20, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower

Three U.S. Army units are preparing to go to war with robots armed, for now, with nonlethal weapons.

"We Have the Technology"-Prostheses Put Troops Back in Action

April 8, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

Injured warfighters, formerly relegated to desk jobs or early retirement, now may have a new lease on military life. Advanced prosthetics give these brave troops the option of returning to active service-a nearly foreign concept in previous wars.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Robotics