On their own

By Rick Robinson – In robotics, autonomy involves enabling unmanned vehicles to perform complex, unpredictable tasks without human guidance. Today, in the early stages of the robotics revolution, it’s among the most critical areas of research.

“The move to true autonomy has become highly important, and progress toward that goal is happening with increasing speed,” said Henrik Christensen, executive director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) at Georgia Tech and a collaborator on the mapping experiment.

“It won’t happen overnight, but the day is coming when you will simply say to a swarm of robots, ‘Okay, go and perform this mission.'”

Vehicular autonomy requires suites of sensors, supported by advanced software and computing capabilities. Sensors can include optical devices that use digital camera technology for robotic vision or video reconnaissance; inertial motion detectors such as gyroscopes; global positioning system (GPS) functionality; radar, laser and lidar systems, pressure sensors, and more.

At Georgia Tech, researchers are developing both commercial and defense-focused technologies that support autonomous applications. more> http://goo.gl/lA4y47

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