DARPA's Smart Mobile Robots

DARPA initiative to develop self-navigating robots. The goal of autonomous vehicle research is to make unmanned transport an option during dangerous situations, such as war, to avoid putting a person's life at risk.
National Institute of Standards and Technology

DARPA LAGR (Learning Applied to Ground Robots)

clipped from www.sciam.com

No Directions Required--Software Smartens Mobile Robots

SMART ROBOT: DARPA's LAGR initiative awarded each of eight teams of scientists $2 million to $3 million to develop software that would give unmanned vehicles the ability to autonomously learn and navigate irregular off-road terrain.
Courtesy of Yann Lecun, N.Y.U.

Autonomous maneuvering may not seem terribly difficult for a reasonably smart robot on wheels. But although some vegetation, such as short grass on a prairie, is easily traversable, obstacles such as dense bushes and tree trunks are not. To expediently reach point B, the robot must be able to quickly sort through a range of flora and decide which ones it can travel over—or through—and which are rigid, impenetrable barriers.

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