Mobile Robots Take Baby Steps

January 8, 2004 | Source: Wired News

The Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) has awarded $2.25 million to two robotics firms to prototype a big mechanical dog capable of carrying ammunition, food and supplies into battle.

Depth perception is essential for recognizing obstacles and avoiding them, so NASA JPL developed a way for robots to see in three dimensions, using two separate cameras that take images of the same scene. JPL built a similar system for NASA’s Spirit rover, now sending back spectacular images from Mars.

The contracts are part of a broader Pentagon look into robots that take their cues from animal-inspired devices.