Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG 2015

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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32 unmanned systems inside   September/October 2015 LAND ROBOTICS How did UNLV get the robot to drive so well? They talked to a driving teacher. "It so happens that one of our teammates was a driving instructor," Oh said. "He said…a common mistake that first-time drivers do [is] they're very choppy in their motions." Oh compared a novice hu- man driver to the way a typical robot drives: by con- stantly checking and rechecking its position relative to obstacles. On the other hand, "experienced drivers know we go with the flow of traffic. We don't calcu- late our position, we regulate our velocity." Humans figure this out through practice. Put- ting the same principle to work on UNLV's robot meant building a system similar to the back-up cameras available on many modern cars, only pointing forward. "So the user is always knowing the vector at which they're going to be turning to." Though self-driving and driverless cars are making huge strides, Oh still sees a use case for a robot that can drive a car. "There are times when you just want a robot to take over control of a vehicle," Oh explained. "You don't want to have to modify the vehicle, you just want to upload into HUBO and say 'That's a Hummer. That's a tractor. That's a spaceship. That's a boat. These are the specs, now I want you to drive.'" Industry is taking note: A hotel chain in Las Ve- gas is in preliminary talks with Oh to see if HUBOs can assist them with either guest-facing tasks, like room service, or material handling tasks. "If you can drive an ATV, you can drive a fork- lift," Oh said. "They handle 40 million visitors a year that need to be fed, moving pallets of veg- etables and crates of meat and what have you." Keep the Human Touch True to its name, the Florida Institute of Human- Machine Cognition, which took second place at the Challenge, kept humans in the loop. As part of the Challenge, DARPA artificially limited communication from the human opera- tors to the robots, so full teleoperation was nearly impossible. As a result, many teams decided to go as fully autonomous as possible, research sci- entist Matt Johnson said. The robots had 60 minutes to complete the course, tackling tasks long the way including 6) turning a valve and 7) opening and passing though a door. 6 7

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