The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's (ARL) Computational and Information Sciences Directorate (CISD) has long
been involved in autonomous asset control, specifically as it relates to small robots. Over the past year, CISD has been
making strides in the implementation of three areas of small robot autonomy, namely platform autonomy, Soldier-robot
interface, and tactical behaviors. It is CISD's belief that these three areas must be considered as a whole in order to
provide Soldiers with useful capabilities.
In addressing these areas, CISD has integrated a COTS LADAR into the head of an iRobot PackBot Explorer, providing
ranging information with minimal disruption to the physical characteristics of the platform. Using this range data is an
implementation of obstacle detection and avoidance (OD/OA), leveraged from an existing autonomy software suite,
running on the platform's native processor. These capabilities will serve as the foundation of our targeted behaviorbased
control methodologies. The first behavior is guarded tele-operation that augments the existing ARL robotic
control infrastructure. The second is the implementation of a multi-robot cooperative mapping behavior. Developed at
ARL, collaborative simultaneous localization and mapping (CSLAM) will allow multiple robots to build a common map
of an area, providing the Soldier operator with a singular view of that area.
This paper will describe the hardware and software integration of the LADAR sensor into the ARL robotic control
system. Further, the paper will discuss the implementation of the small robot OD/OA and CSLAM software components
performed by ARL, as well as results on their performance and benefits to the Soldier.