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APL Teams with the Army to Develop Software for Self-Righting Autonomous Robots

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Engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have developed software that enables autonomous bomb-defusing robots to turn themselves back over, right side up, if they ever get flipped the wrong way.


This capability is critical to keeping soldiers out of harm’s way, noted Galen Mullins, lead author of “An Adaptive Sampling Approach for Evaluating Robot Self-Righting Capabilities,” published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. “A robot that is not capable of self-righting is going to be severely limited in its ability to perform missions autonomously,” said Mullins, a mechanical engineer whose research focuses on machine learning and simulation techniques for increasing autonomy.


That’s why the ability to self-right is a key requirement of the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System, or AEODRS, a new family of explosive ordnance disposal robotic systems featuring a modular open systems architecture. The program is funded by the Navy and includes a team composed of APL, Northrop Grumman, OpenJAUS and GuardBot.