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Proceedings Paper

Toward a warfighter’s associate: eliminating the operator control unit
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Paper Abstract

In addition to the challenges of equipping a mobile robot with the appropriate sensors, actuators, and processing electronics necessary to perform some useful function, there coexists the equally important challenge of effectively controlling the system’s desired actions. This need is particularly critical if the intent is to operate in conjunction with human forces in a military application, as any low-level distractions can seriously reduce a warfighter’s chances of survival in hostile environments. Historically there can be seen a definitive trend towards making the robot smarter in order to reduce the control burden on the operator, and while much progress has been made in laboratory prototypes, all equipment deployed in theatre to date has been strictly teleoperated. There exists a definite tradeoff between the value added by the robot, in terms of how it contributes to the performance of the mission, and the loss of effectiveness associated with the operator control unit. From a command-and-control perspective, the ultimate goal would be to eliminate the need for a separate robot controller altogether, since it represents an unwanted burden and potential liability from the operator’s perspective. This paper introduces the long-term concept of a supervised autonomous Warfighter’s Associate, which employs a natural-language interface for communication with (and oversight by) its human counterpart. More realistic near-term solutions to achieve intermediate success are then presented, along with actual results to date. The primary application discussed is military, but the concept also applies to law enforcement, space exploration, and search-and-rescue scenarios.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 December 2004
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5609, Mobile Robots XVII, (29 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.571458
Show Author Affiliations
Hobart R. Everett, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Estrellina B. Pacis, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Greg Kogut, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Nathan M. Farrington, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
S. Khurana, Univ. of Southern California (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5609:
Mobile Robots XVII
Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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