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The U.S. Navy has just taken the wraps off a sexy new robotics facility. The bots created and refined there will be automated wonders, some of them amphibious, some able to fight fires or fly, and ever so much more.
The Naval Research Laboratory has opened its Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR — see what they did there?), what the Navy is calling the “nerve system” for research on autonomous robotics to help the Navy and Marine Corps in their missions and to get new robotic tech to the front line as soon as possible, according to a statement released by NRL today.
LASR will be home to researchers working in intelligent autonomy, sensor systems, power and energy systems, human-system interaction, networking and communications, and platforms.
Some of the bots being built at LASR include small autonomous air and ground vehicles, at least one swimming bot, and specialized robots for fighting fires aboard ships.
Yes, we say with a measure of impatience, but can they sing and dance? The Navy’s number-one export to date is, in our book, singing and dancing sailors, and it’d take a heck of a robot to top that.
The new, $17.7 million dollar facility got its official ribbon-cutting ceremony just two weeks ago, nearly two years after ground was initially broken on the site. The facility includes a wide range of environments for testing, from simulated deserts and rainforests to a 45-by-25-foot pool with a wave generator capable of producing directional waves.
The Navy said the number and type of research robotics projects will increase as researchers register to use the new LASR facility.
“It’s the first time that we have, under a single roof, a laboratory that captures all the domains in which our Sailors, Marines and fellow DOD service members operate,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, in today’s release. “Advancing robotics and autonomy are top priorities for the Office of Naval Research. We want to reduce the time it takes to deliver capability to our warfighters performing critical missions. This innovative facility bridges the gap between traditional laboratory research and in-the-field experimentation-saving us time and money.”
Here are some images of the robots and their new home: