Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has announced a follow-on contract to build a hands-free human-machine interface (HMI) for the US Army. The Supervisory HMI Enabling Practical Autonomous Robot Direction (SHEPARD) effort fuses multiple proven robot control technologies to provide a natural and reliable hands-free HMI for Soldiers operating in diverse environments. The two-year contract is valued at $1 million.
Unmanned vehicles (UxVs) are vital to military operations, although their widespread integration faces significant barriers. Most current UxV systems require active remote control or teleoperation, where a Commander orders a trained human operator to control the robot to carry out a task.
“Our approach to managing UxVs is in stark contrast with how robot operators currently direct platforms—they use cumbersome, hands-on, head-down controllers. Our goal is to develop controls that let robots seamlessly integrate into human teams,” said Stan German, Senior Scientist at Charles River Analytics.
Example application of Charles River’s gesture recognition technology using stand-off sensors.
SHEPARD offers more natural and reliable communication so Commanders can issue instructions directly to UxVs. Under the effort, we are building a hands-free HMI that combines speech and gestures to enable reliable command and control of multiple unmanned vehicles. SHEPARD will use smart devices—like a watch—for easy communication with military robots.
SHEPARD will reduce the cognitive burden on Warfighters and their Commanders, increase trust within human-robot teams, and accelerate the adoption of UxVs, helping to remove Warfighters from harm’s way.
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About Charles River Analytics: Since 1983, Charles River Analytics has been delivering intelligent systems that transform our customers' data into mission-relevant tools and solutions to support critical assessment and decision-making. Charles River continues to grow its technology, customer base, and strategic alliances through research and development programs for the DoD, DHS, NASA, and the Intelligence Community. We address a broad spectrum of mission areas and functional domains, including sensor and image processing, situation assessment and decision aiding, human systems integration, cyber security, human-robot interaction, and robot localization and automation. These efforts have resulted in a series of successful products that support continued growth in our core R&D contracting business, as well as the commercial sector. Charles River became an employee-owned company in 2012, to set the stage for the next-generation of innovation, service, and growth.