$100,000 SBIR R&D Contract Awarded to 5D Robotics and Charles River Analytics to Build a Robot Capable of Working Along-side First Responders and Soldiers
5D Behavior Engine will be integrated with Charles River Analytics vision tracking to create autonomous robot that responds to cues and follows commands in the field
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 10, 2013 -- 5D Robotics, Inc., a robotics software company that integrates human behaviors with leading robotics hardware, in collaboration with Charles River Analytics, was awarded a $100,000 research and development contract by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The goal of the contract is to create an autonomous robot that can interact with humans as a team member by physically following its teammates and reacting to visual and gestured commands. The project is called "Multinodal Interface for Natural Operator Teaming with Autonomous Robots (Minotaur)."
With the Minotaur project, 5D Robotics will integrate its proprietary 5D Behavior Engine, including its "Follow Me" and "Guarded Motion" capabilities, with Charles River's vision-based tracking and gesture recognition technology to process specific commands. 5D software enables any robot to autonomously follow its teammates through complex environments while avoiding collision with people or objects. Integrating Charles River's visual recognition technology means the robot can now take cues from its human teammates and follow directions autonomously. Similar to how soldiers, police, and firefighters might get visual cues from their teammates via hand signals, the Minotaur project will enable those same recognition and response behaviors in robots.
The success of the project will first impact how war fighters interact with robots on the battlefield. Future commercialization could mean human-robot teams in a variety of sectors including law enforcement and emergency response, with later applications in senior care support and hospitality.
"The Minotaur project is advancing how robots and humans work together," said David Rowe, 5D Robotics CEO. "As U.S. Defense and commercial budgets shrink, robots will be called upon to take on more complex tasks and work in close cooperation with humans. This project is immediately appropriate for our war fighters and future-ready for the commercial sector. The team at Charles River has created software that integrates perfectly with our own, and we believe we'll have a robust, amazingly responsive robotic software within six months."
The SBIR award program encourages companies to engage in federal research and development (R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The highly competitive program enables businesses like 5D Robotics and Charles River to explore their technological potential through a three-phase process. Minotaur has made it into Phase I, which according to SBIR, is "to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support."
5D Robotics has previously taken projects all the way through the SBIR three-phase program in just 18 months, which is highly unusual according to Rowe. "We are extremely optimistic about the Minotaur project at 5D Robotics. Our team anticipates this R&D project to further our progress in developing robots that can safely and effectively work side-by-side with humans in the most dangerous of situations, and also improve productivity in other industries in the future," he said.
About 5D Robotics Inc.
5D Robotics is accelerating productivity between humans and robots. The company's software and services provide real-time, reactive robotic behaviors such as obstacle avoidance, shared control, motion trajectory detection, and dynamic follow that work to dramatically increase the safety, efficiency and simplified control of robots used in the military, transportation and energy industries. 5D Robotics' proprietary, plug-and-play software is easily ported on a variety of robots and can rapidly adapt to a variety of uses, environments and situations. 5D Robotics holds 11 patents and its software applications have been rigorously assessed by the U.S. Army. www.5DRobotics.com.