Software tweaks to make undersea robots smarter

December 5th, 2011 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 5 (IANS) A cutting edge software, developed and tested by naval scientists, can help undersea robots become smarter at surveying large swathes of the ocean.

“Using the new algorithms, the vehicle has a greater ability to make its own decisions without requiring a human in the loop,” said Marc Steinberg, programme officer for Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) multidisciplinary programme.

With plans to deploy squadrons of air, surface and undersea robotic vehicles later this decade, the US Navy is investing in basic research programmes to improve autonomous system capabilities, according to an ONR statement.

“Advancing autonomy for unmanned systems allows you the ability to do things that wouldn’t be practical otherwise because we don’t have enough warfighters or communication today,” said Steinberg, who works in ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department.

ONR funded researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Southern California to advance the intelligence of autonomous vehicles under its programmes for surveillance.

They developed a persistent surveillance theory that provides a framework for decision making software that maximises a robot’s collection of information over a given area. It gives some guarantees on performance in dynamic environments.

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