This work is directly applicable to automating current NASA robots such as Dexter and Robonaut, both of which are currently on-board ISS. Even under teleoperation, this software could detect potential collisions and self-collisions and alert the operator. This work is also applicable to NASA ground robots such as Centaur and future exploration robots. NASA's future robotics missions are expected to rely heavily on dexterous robots. These robots will need sophisticated autonomy software in order to function. These robots will assist humans with tasks as well as work with no human presence to perform tasks such as assembly and terrain preparation.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is investing heavily in remote robotic operations including unmanned ground vehicles and is beginning to equip these vehicles with sophisticated manipulation systems. This manipulation systems are used for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), medical operations, entering and clearing buildings, moving supplies and unloading pallets. Our technology will greatly increase the usefulness of highly dexterous robots in military environments We expect substantial interest in the DOD to these kinds of technologies. We are also working with the US Army on remote medical robotics applications and have connections with Mr. Michael Beebe, who is the Medical Robotics and Unmanned Systems R&D manager for the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) of the US Army. In addition, we see applications in the urban search and rescue (USAR) arena and are coordinating with Dr. Robin Murphy of Texas A&M's Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue. We are also investigating remote operation of robots on oil drilling platforms to reduce manpower and allow for continued operation in the face of storms that require evacuation of platform personnel. We are also investigating the automation of remotely operated underwater vehicles, such as those produced by Oceaneering. This application is particularly timely after the Deepwater Horizon incident. Dual arm manipulation robots are also becoming more common in industrial settings.