The current generation of man portable unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) often pose problems for researchers due to high unit price points and closed development architectures. Each UGV becomes a major investment for a research group and discourages heavy use under harsh field conditions, while closed software environments hinder necessary modifications. The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) approached the 2011-2012 Olin SCOPE Program with these problems in mind and asked the team to produce a man portable autonomous UGV for use as a research platform. The goals o the project focus on the development and production of a low-cost indoor/outdoor UGV that provides a modular interface for the rapid development of cutting edge software and sensor capabilities.
During the 2010-2011 year of the project, the PSI SCOPE team focused on hardware development for the robotic platform. This year, the team focused on the design and development of workstation software to allow higher level planning and complex decision making, and to provide an enhanced user interface. The workstation provides for direct control and supervision of the robot by a remote user, as well as support for computationally complex algorithms.