Navy builds 50,000 square foot lab to simulate desert, jungle to test military robots

April 9, 2012

Tropical High Bay at NRL's Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research is a 60' by 40' greenhouse that contains a re-creation of a southeast Asian rain forest (credit: NRL)

The 50,000 square foot Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR) at the Naval Research Laboratory  in Washington, D.C. is a real-world testing lab for robots, where they’ll be tested in sandstorms, jungle humidity, and water.

It can be used for small autonomous air vehicles, autonomous ground vehicles, and the people who will interact with them. A motion capture video system allows engineers to track up to 50 objects and gather high-accuracy ground truth data of all positions of these tracked objects.

The facility includes four human-systems interaction labs that can be used as control rooms for human-subject experiments, or for development of autonomy software.

An audio system allows for injecting directional sound into the environment, such as the sound of troops marching or environmental background noises.

The labs also contain eye trackers (useful for studying how people work with advanced interfaces for autonomous systems) and multi-user/multi-touch displays.

Sounds like a great place to test those taco-delivery drones. — Ed.