The Army Research Laboratory’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance is a program intended to change robots from tools that soldiers use into teammates alongside which soldiers can work. This requires the integration of fundamental and applied research in robotic perception, intelligence, manipulation, mobility, and human-robot interaction. In this paper, we present the results of assessments conducted in 2016 to evaluate the capabilities of a new robot, the Robotic Manipulator (RoMan), and of a cognitive architecture (ACT-R). The RoMan platform was evaluated on its ability to conduct a search and grasp task under a variety of conditions. Specifically, it was required to search for and recognize a gas can placed on the floor, and then pick it up. The RoMan showed the potential to be a good platform for autonomous manipulation, but the autonomy used in these experiments will require improvement to make full use of the platform’s capabilities. The cognitive architecture was evaluated as to how well it could learn to select an appropriate set of features for a classification task. The task was to classify emotions that had been encoded using the Facial Action Coding System, with ACT-R learning to select the most effective set of features for correct classification. ACT-R leaned rules which required it to observe about half of the available features to make a decision, and the subsequent decisions had an accuracy ranging from 76% to 93% (depending on the emotion).
Generalized Field D* is a novel graph-based planning algorithm developed to improve autonomous navigation of
robotic vehicles. The advantages of this algorithm include the possibility to reduce the search space by using multi-resolution
graphs, faster planning, and smoother trajectories. The algorithm works with a wide range of simple graphs
that have positive edge costs - there is no requirement for the graph to be a grid. Trajectories generated with generalized
Field D* are not guaranteed to be optimal, but, in practice, they are often better than those obtained with conventional