Kayak Robots

Posted on August 7, 2006  Comments (0)

robotic kayaks

Kayaks adapted to test marine robotics

Working in labs that resemble machine shops, these engineers are taking small steps toward the holy grail of robotics — cooperative autonomy — making machines work together seamlessly to complete tasks with a minimum of human direction.

The tool they’re using is the simple kayak.

Yesterday it was submarine autonomus robots from Princeton (funded by the Naval Postgraduate School). The robot kayak project is funded by Office of Naval Research and the MIT Sea Grant College Program.

Much of the technology being tested is ultimately intended for use in underwater robots, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), but testing software on AUVs can easily become a multimullion-dollar experiment.

“I want to have master’s students and Ph.D. students that can come in, test algorithms and develop them on a shoestring budget,” said Associate Professor John J. Leonard of mechanical engineering.

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