The Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research signals the Navy's desire to speed up development of autonomous robots with a testing lab that simulates a range of natural environments.
Lucas and pelican
Captain Paul Stewart stands in one of the prototyping rooms in the Naval Research Laboratory's new Laboratory for Autonomous Systems. Next to him is Lucas, a mobile, dexterous, and social robot. Stewart is holding a quadrotor air vehicle, which can be operated without much training for sensing missions.
This robot, called Lucas, is being programmed to be a platform for firefighting on Navy ships. This angle shows how the robot operates on a set of wheels for mobility and can locate fires autonomously.
Drew Rodgers (left), a mechanical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, shows the Ion Tiger to John Holdren (bearded, on right), the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology policy. The Ion Tiger is a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned aerial vehicle.
Underwater robots for monitoring and security are a big part of the Navy's robotics research efforts. The new autonomous systems lab is investigating sensors, power and energy systems, human-robot interaction, and communications.