Charles River Analytics and 5D Robotics will team in a $1 million, two-year follow-on contract to develop an intuitive soldier/machine interface for the US Army. Designated the Multi-Modal Interface for Natural Operator Training with Autonomous Robots (MINOTAUR), the solution fuses proven leader-tracking and robot control technologies to provide a reliable, hands-free interface for controlling leader-follower operations with autonomous systems in challenging environments.
Operators will be able to use voice and hand signals to communicate with robots, which become true support agents as part of a human-robot team: direct teleoperation will be limited to execution of specific tasks that require human skills, such as disarming or detonating IEDs. This will reduce the cognitive burden on warfighters, enhance their security in the field and thereby accelerate adoption of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV).
“This is a particularly exciting project for us because MINOTAUR fuses novel technologies developed by a multi-disciplinary team of robotics, computer vision, natural language processing, and human factors experts at Charles River,” said Camille Monnier, Principal Investigator on the effort. “The ultimate vision is to create a mule-like robot that is autonomous enough to offload warfighters while maintaining their trust.”