The RMC Robotics Laboratory is a multi-disciplinary research group focused on the development of autonomous robotic platforms for military applications.
Researchers in Robotics create intelligent programs that focus on high-level decision making, sensor integration, basic artificial intelligence, and the capacity for collaboration and machine learning. They work with ground platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and more, and conduct research that is used by all three military environments.
One major focus in Robotics is on the indoor application of quad rotor UAVs. These sophisticated drones use a vision-based infrared tracking system to negotiate their environment, navigating autonomously based on the behaviours and targets programmed in the Robotics lab. Researchers use the MATLAB & Simulink environments and model predictive control systems to develop complex, responsive robots that can operate in hostile terrain.
Facilities in the Robotics lab include:
- UAVs and robotic ground vehicles
- State of the art computer systems and programming environments
- Ground control stations
- A “caged” robotics testing area
- A computer learning lab where students are able to model and implement their programs
- All the tools and materials necessary to build simple robots from the ground up
Undergraduate students learn how to work with sensors and employ them in movement, working their way up to programming behaviour and autonomous control; graduate studies build on these skills, researching and developing complex control systems in depth.
Currently, the Robotics lab is moving towards a machine learning approach. Rather than having to redesign an existing control system for every new task or platform, this would create a learning, adaptive platform that can teach itself new strategies for new task models—allowing for greater flexibility and faster deployment on a variety of robotics-based tasks. Researchers use game theory, testing robots both on their own and against each other to teach them the most optimal strategies for any given task in pursuit of a “perfect solution.”
In addition to autonomous control and machine learning systems, the Robotics lab has conducted research in mentally controlling robots with the use of an electroencephalograph (EEG). This involved teaching the robot to take input and effectively interpret data from the human brain—just one of many exciting and complex areas of research being conducted in Robotics today.
Capt. A.J. Marasco
Lecturer and Investigator