Director of DCIST at University of Pennsylvania and TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar receives $27M grant from Army to develop robot teams

The United States Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has awarded Penn Engineering a five-year, $27 million grant to develop new methods of creating autonomous, intelligent and resilient teams of robots. The teams, comprised of multiple types of robots and sensors with varying abilities, are designed to assist humans in a broad range of operations in dynamically changing, harsh and challenging environments. These would include search and rescue of hostages, information gathering after terrorist attacks or natural disasters as well as humanitarian missions.
"We want to have teams of robots that know how to work together, but can figure out how to keep working even if some of their teammates crash or fail, if GPS signal is unavailable, or if cloud services are disrupted," said Vijay Kumar, director of the DCIST program. "This means designing networks with loose, flexible connections that can change on the fly. That way, a single event can't bring down the entire network. More importantly, we want them to learn to perform tasks they may have never performed and work alongside humans that they may never have worked with."
The award is part of ARL's Distributed and Collaborative Intelligent Systems and Technology (DCIST) Collaborative Research Alliance, which Penn Engineering will lead.
"The technology we're working will better allow humans to respond by projecting their intelligence without directly coming in harm's way," Kumar said.

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