NASA has several dexterous robots that assist humans in space activities. These include the R2 and Dextre robots on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and the Valkryie research robot being developed at NASA Johnson Space Center. These robots will need to use tools and interact with both remote supervisors and side-by-side human teammates. Our system provides software tools that increase the capabilities of dexterous robots and reduce the painstaking reliance on teleoperation. As more capable robots move beyond low-earth orbit, for example exploring the Moon or Mars, they will increasingly need sophisticated control algorithms focused on very dexterous manipulation and flexible reconfiguration in case of failure.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is investing heavily in very capable, dexterous robots for tasks such as disaster relief, ordnance disposal, search and rescue, and casualty care and evacuation. These robots will need the sophisticated software produced in this project in order to perform their complicated tasks. Manufacturing robots are making new strides in dexterity and flexibility with robots such as Baxter and the GM R2. These robots will also need new control algorithms that allow them to manipulate tools and work alongside their human co-workers. The oil and gas industry is increasingly looking to automation to reduce worker injuries both on-shore and off-shore. Dexterous, mobile robots that can manipulation drilling rig tools and equipment will require software such as that produced by this project.