IRL Lab Overview

Research on mobile robotics is conducted within the Intelligent Robotics Lab (IRL). There are several operational robots including an ATRV-Jr (Scooter), a Pioneer2-AT (Skeeter), and a track-driven Matilda robot (Rocky) currently used in research. The ATRV-Jr is equipped with sonar, lidar, compass and DGPS sensors, plus a pan-tilt vision system. The Pioneer2-AT is equipped with sonar and a 360-degree camera array. The Matilda robot has an omni-directional camera, sonar sensors, and inclinometers.

In mobile robot research, the human user is often located at a remote site. The challenge here is for the robot to understand what the user is trying to communicate, particularly to understand the details of its task. Similarly, the robot should be able to communicate to the user any information regarding the state of the robot and the task that might have some influence on what the user wants the robot to do. In particular, it is important for the robot to be able to determine that it is having difficulty in making progress in the task, and needs to ask the user for help.

We are exploring methods for facilitating natural communication of information about location and navigation. Our Egocentric navigation (ENav) algorithm is based on the use of angular distributions of landmarks, providing actual descriptions of the robot’s current location and target location.

Intelligent adaptive interfaces are important in this research. Such interfaces are being explored on portable devices such as personal digital assistants (PDA’s) and the newer tablet PC’s.

We are now extending our UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) research to include UAV (Unmanned Areal Vehicle) to develop an integrated UGV-UAV system for a variety of applications.

Current Research Projects