“The robot will be equipped with its autonomous control algorithms that will be able to assess its environment and automatically navigate in an unknown environment,” Lee said. “The robot is capable of detecting its own environment and generating its own trajectory.”
She explained that the robot has its own brain and sensors that can process data to promptly decide how and where to operate. Human users can command the robot, Lee said, even as the robot will be able to operate on its own.
Asked how such robots will help military operations, Lee replied that robots can work as “first responders” that assist military personnel and get information about terrain or landscape. She added that though the technology is being created for military use, there will be applications in the agriculture area and other domestic fields of work and study.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered how the team worked together, with a greater reliance on simulations to best utilize work-at-home time, Lee said. She noted that the team is most focused on getting the robot to effectively navigate staircases.
“We’re particularly interested in staircases, because in urban military operations, there are indoor and outdoor staircases everywhere,” Lee said. She said her team is working to make a relatively simple design that still achieves a variety of operations.