With plans for future U.S. Army soldiers to work with a cadre of autonomous systems, scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are examining the intricacies of communication to support effective operations between groups of soldiers and robotic systems. They are finding ways to measure communication and study conversational processes to understand human-autonomy team performance, trust and cohesion.
The U.S. Army is developing new materials that can withstand the harshest environmental condition on the battlefield—high-energy kinetic combat. A multipronged research effort at the Army Research Laboratory aims at creating exotic materials that would protect warfighters and their equipment from new kinds of weaponry that are appearing, and may appear, in future tactical combat.
The U.S. Army is attacking defensive cyber operations from the laboratory. It is focusing new research efforts, including autonomous network agents, on ensuring cyber resiliency in the battlespace.
Some of this work builds on related efforts long underway at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Other thrusts aim at exploiting capabilities that are within reach but not yet ready to field. Still more are areas of research that have been given greater emphasis reflecting the more urgent need for cyber resilience.
The COVID-19 pandemic brings with it a new set of cyber vulnerabilities built around lifestyle changes throughout society, and these vulnerabilities cry out for new means of cyber resiliency. “It’s quite possible that historians will remember COVID-19 as one of the very important civilizational turning points,” says Alexander Kott, chief scientist of the Army Research Laboratory and Army ST for cyber resilience. “COVID-19 is acting as a forcing function. It forces us to accelerate the transition to a more virtual society than we were before, and it is accelerating the trend that was occurring before COVID-19 but was happening more slowly and less noticeably.”
Robots trying out to become part of the U.S. Army’s battlefield force now have their own real-world testbed built atop what used to be a nerve gas testing site. The Army Research Laboratory has built the Robotics Research Collaboration Campus, or R2C2, in Graces Quarters at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Formerly a superfund site, the area now is sprouting buildings amid mixed wooded and grassy terrain typical of what the Army may find on future battlefields.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is handing its robotics research in adaptive autonomy to eight partners in academia and industry in what laboratory officials describe as a sprint to develop new capabilities. The Army has awarded $2.9 million in first-year funding as part of its Scalable, Adaptive and Resilient Autonomy (SARA) program to develop methods by which future Army robots can autonomously navigate rough terrain and avoid being blocked or upended by obstacles.
The U.S. Army soldier proceeds methodically, picking his way through dense vegetative growth as he traverses a battlefield that geologically is ages old, but technologically is years in the future. With the enemy rendering satellite-borne GPS signals ineffective, the soldier resorts to his internal position-location unit that pinpoints his spot to the meter. His external sensor suite alerts him to the presence of enemy air and ground forces, but they are far enough away to be of no consequence yet. That raises suspicions in his mind, as they seem to have left the soldier’s area strangely undefended—even unattended.
Long-extant technologies will team with advances only dreamed of in laboratories if planners have their way in building the Army network of the future. The service is revamping its approach to networking in light of changes to the warfighting picture, and its scientists are working on a multitude of complementary technologies and capabilities that will be needed to empower future Army networks.
One of the more exotic technologies being explored for Army networking is ultraviolet communications. It can be employed for non-line-of-sight (LOS) communications or direct LOS, and it is harder for an adversary to detect, as atmospheric absorption limits its range. This also reduces an enemy’s ability to jam the signal.
Autonomous vehicles that can clear debris from roads, move containers after determining their contents and scuttle across rough terrain amid changing environments have emerged as the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) marked 10 years of collaborative research with industry and academia. The goals reached in the capstone of the Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA) were presented at the Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh, as the ARL demonstrated several robots designed around Army battlefield needs.
U.S. Army scientists are learning more about how the human brain functions so they can team its bearer with artificial intelligence (AI). The goal is for AI to understand a soldier’s moods and feelings and adjust its own actions accordingly.
Researchers aim for a future iteration of AI that would measure a soldier’s cognitive and physical state and trigger actions that would support, or even save, the individual in combat. These actions might direct the human on a different course, or ultimately initiate activities that complete the soldier’s mission or protect the individual in combat.
Catapult Health Technology Group, Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $9,681,170 modification (P00023) to contract W911QX-15-F-0014 for information technology support services for the U.S. Army research laboratory. Work will be performed in Adelphi, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2019. Fiscal year 2018 research, development, test and evaluation; and operations maintenance, Army funds in the combined amount of $3,776,151 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
A team at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has created four generalized linear models to predict the number of cyber intrusions a company or government will experience on its network. To design the models, the team used empirical data about successful cyber intrusions committed against a number of different organizations obtained from a cyber defense services provider that defended the organizations’ networks.
How many days equal a billion hours? Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) are about to find out. This week, they began modeling the engine spray mixture of turbulent fuel atomization and mixing in engines, a formation process at never-before-seen complexities that could lead to lighter and more fuel-efficient planes and combat vehicles.
STG Incorporated, Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $10,850,829 firm-fixed-price level-of-effort contract for the information technology services in support of the Army Research Laboratory. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Maryland, is the contracting activity.