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Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge Tasks

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge Tasks
This project is aimed at advancing capabilities of NASA's humanoid robot R5 through the development of novel high-level behaviors, perception based manipulation and grasping, and operator interfaces. We propose to host one of R5s at the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center at UMass Lowell in Lowell Massachusetts, less than 30 miles from Boston. At 10,000 square feet, the NERVE Center is the largest indoor robot test facility in New England. The complementary expertise of the proposing research team in model-based robot control, grasping, and human-robot interaction will be unified to develop autonomous behaviors for R5. The team's collective experience from the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals will enable the development of new capabilities for R5 to execute a set of expected NASA administered Space Robotics Challenge (SRC) tasks. The development effort will be carried out in three major thrusts on constrained motion planning and control; perception, manipulation, and grasping; and user interface design. In completing space exploration relevant manipulation and mobility tasks for the SRC, an iterative model-based design approach will be used to specify and verify requirements for each task, develop models for physical human and robot actions as well as the environment, select and compose models of computation, simulate the human-supervised system as a whole, and verify and validate the algorithm designs on the physical robot. The high-level approach to task development and validation is to start with teleoperation and then to move toward partial or full autonomy through the integration of new capabilities. The research team will repurpose motion planning, full-body control, perception, manipulation, grasping and operator interfaces capabilities developed within the scope of recent DRC Finals to systematically validate SRC tasks. In collaboration with NASA engineers, the lessons learned from this validation effort will be used to refine the SRC tasks. In year 2 of the project, we will host an SRC competitor at the NERVE Center and provide the competitor team with access for testing their algorithms on R5. Upon completion, this project will advance the technological readiness of humanoid robot autonomy for success in future space missions. More »

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