Autonomous Robot

robots are robots that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments
without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of
autonomy. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways. A high degree
of autonomy is particularly desirable in fields such as space exploration,
cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and waste water treatment.

following documents were received that pertain to research into the development
and use of Autonomous Robots.

Autonomous Robots

In chronological order from newest
to oldest

Autonomous Robots for Reconnaissance
, June 3, 2009 [9 Pages, 25  KB] –
Collaborating mobile robots equipped with WiFi transceivers are configured as a
mobile ad-hoc network. Algorithms are developed to take advantage of the
distributed processing capability inherent to multi-agent systems. The focus of
this study was to determine the optimal amount of communication which allows
the robots to share a sufficiently detailed global map, while keeping their
processing time and energy usage to a minimum. A hardware testbed is described,
which will be used to examine these trade-offs in an indoor laboratory-scale
test area.

and Autonomous Robots: An Ethical Stance, 2007
 [4 Pages, 196 KB] -This
paper addresses a difficult issue confronting the designers of intelligent
robotic systems: their potential use of lethality in warfare. To fully
understand the consequences of the deployment of autonomous machines capable of
taking human life under military doctrine and tactics, a systematic ethical
evaluation needs to be conducted to guide users (e.g., warfighters), system
designers, policy makers, and commanders regarding the intended future use of
this technology. This study needs to be conducted prior to the deployment of
these systems, not as an afterthought. Toward that end, a 3-year research
effort on this topic is being conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology for
the Army Research Office, of which the authors are currently in the first year.
Two topics are being investigated: What is acceptable?, and What can be done? A
survey is being conducted on the use of lethality by autonomous systems. The
survey investigates the points of view of various demographic groups on this
issue, including the public, robotics researchers, policy makers, and military
personnel. The authors also are designing a computational implementation of an
ethical code within an existing autonomous robotic system (i.e., an artificial
conscience) that will be able to govern an autonomous system’s behavior in a
manner consistent with the rules and laws of war. This paper describes the
survey’s design and administration. The independent variables used for the
survey are as follows: (1) community type; (2) level of authority; (3)
demographic variables, such as age, gender, level of education, etc.; and (4)
the extent of participants’ knowledge of robots and their capabilities. In
addition to finding out what the terms of acceptance are for using lethal
robots in warfare, the authors would like to see if, and how, the level of
acceptance varies among the different community types, according to certain
demographics factors, and for the three levels of autonomy.

Our Robots Are So Smart, Why Aren’t We All Rich? (The Challenges of Integrating
Autonomous Robots)
 November 8, 1999 [43 Pages, 997 KB] – Presentation
of military research efforts into the development and applications of robotic

Technique for Coordinating Autonomous Robots
, April 12, 1986 [7 Pages, 910
KB] – This paper describes a technique for coordinating the subsystems of
autonomous robots which takes advantage of a distributed blackboard mechanism
and a high degree of functional distribution between subsystems to minimize
communications and simplify the interfaces. Distributed blackboard memory
contains a world model which represents knowledge about itself and its
surroundings as collections of objects important to the task and the relations
between them. Objects or instances are represented as lists of
object-attribute- value-accuracy-confidence-timestamp tuples which are
organized into a class tree with inheritance properties and active functions.

Technical Research Issues of Autonomous Robots Employed in Combat
September 1984 [6 Pages, 200 KB] – The recent upsurge in interest in
autonomous robots for combat applications has focused considerable attention on
several of the obvious technical issues (e.g. target recognition, autonomous
navigation, route planning) . However, several technical issues exist which
remain unapproached and, in some cases, even unacknowledged by the robotics
community. This paper explores three such issues: (1) robot fault tolerance,
(2) robot security and (3) multi-robot coordination. These issues are discussed
in terms of the technology limitations and the research issues associated with
those limitations. A common message which occurs several times during this
discussion denotes the importance in modular implementation and well defined
interfaces between subsystems in the development of autonomous combat robots.

Autonomous Satellites

Mission Management for Satellite Systems
, August 15, 2015 [67 Pages,
7.6MB] – It’s almost humorous they would send this document to me, as a
response to a FOIA request. You will note, it is nearly entirely redacted, with
the exception of the footer, and the distribution list.

Satellite intelligence information is being used increasingly for real-time
operations. This requires satellites that can be quickly tasked for new
objectives and that can respond to opportunistic situations and external
threats. Unfortunately, today’s satellites rely on ground operators to control
them. This means there is a large delay between when a new task is requested,
or a new threat or target of opportunity is identified, and the response by the
satellite. TRACLabs proposes the The HAMMER system, which is designed to
operate on-board a satellite, controlling the satellite”s goal-oriented
activities and responding to threats even when it is not in communication with
the ground or when time constraints require immediate response to threats and
faults. The HAMMER system attempts to meet mission objectives even in the face
of threats and faults. HAMMER prioritizes multiple, competing user goals and
requests and determines a satisfactory ordering of satellite tasks to conserve
resources and maximize capability. HAMMER autonomously executes the tasks by
issuing commands to the host satellite system. BENEFIT: We believe that HAMMER
provides the following benefits to the Air Force: 1) Rapid and continuous
response: does not require ground to be in the loop; 2) Self-defense responses
to threats; 3) Immediate mission replanning due to disturbances or
opportunities; 4) Guaranteed safety (from modeled threats, given defensive
response capabilities); 5) High-level tasking of spacecraft: planning and
execution framework fills in fine-grain command details; and 6) Increased
spacecraft productivity: more observations, more tasks accomplished. This work
has commercial applications in enabling the automation of vehicles such as
satellites, unmanned vehicles (e.g., unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), unmanned
ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), etc.), and manned
vehicles (e.g., aircraft, spacecraft, ships, etc.). This work also has
commercial applications in the oil and gas industry and in the industrial
robotics industry.

Mission Management for Satellite Systems
, January 2002 [67 Pages,
3.9MB] – This report summarizes mobile foundations Phase I SBIR project
entitled An Automated Tool to Enable the Distributed Operations of Air Force
Satellites. The overall goal of the project was to proved the feasibility of
enhancing US Air Force space operations through the use of advanced automation
to provide distributed situational awareness. Such an approach will help the
Air Force meet the vision of Next Generation Space Operations laid out in the
Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) Strategic Master Plan. This report documents
the human effectiveness and systems analyses mobile foundations used as a basis
for its proof-of-concept prototype. The report also describes the software
prototype (called FASAT, Fast Access Situational Awareness) that mobile
foundations developed and demonstrated to prove the feasibility of its approach
to developing a next-generations distributed operations system.