VAIL is one of eight groups partnering with the U.S. Army on the SARA project
A team of researchers from the Vehicle Autonomy and Intelligence Lab at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering are among eight groups awarded funding by the Scalable, Adaptive, and Resilient Autonomy program of the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.
The program is focused the expansion of mobility and maneuverability of the Army’s robotic and autonomous vehicles. VAIL researchers will collaborate with academic and industry partners from the Colorado School of Mines; the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition; GE Research; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Delaware; the University of Rochester; and the University of Washington on the project.
The team from Luddy will take part in a 12-month sprint research cycle called the off-road autonomous GROUND maneuver.
“We will focus on developing planning and decision-making components to enable autonomous ground vehicles to maneuver in complex and contested environments,” said Lantao Liu, an assistant professor of intelligent systems engineering and the director of VAIL. “Besides new methodology design, this sprint will also involve extensive field tests in outdoor environments such as rock fields, dunes, ditches, forested areas, etc., which will be performed in a few test venues around our town.”
Partners will work in close collaboration with each other and the lab to further develop and then integrate their solutions onto representative testbed platforms—and into the lab’s autonomous systems software repository—for collaboration across the Army Futures Command and Army autonomy enterprise.
“We are excited to work with ARL and partner with other strong teams together to tackle challenges of autonomous systems maneuvering in complex and contested environments,” Liu said. “The effort will be integrated into robot platforms provided (and designated) by ARL at the end of the sprint, and our team will spend two weeks onsite for such an integration effort. The field deployments and evaluations will force us to bridge the gap between theory and application, and it will push forward autonomy in the real world.”
The IU team is part of the inaugural round of funding for the SARA program.
“The SARA program will help us accelerate our research in autonomous vehicles by including best of breed performers who will augment the capabilities of our core software, enabling future combat vehicles to operate in complex environments,” said Dr. John Fossaceca, acting program manager at the Army Research Lab.