TRACLabs Wins DARPA Grant to Develop Robotic Search and Recognition Software for U.S. Military

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TRACLabs, pioneers in the development of robotics and automation, were recently awarded an $850,000 software development grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the primary research and development organization of the U.S. Department of Defense.

TRACLabs, pioneers in the development of robotics and automation, were recently awarded an $850,000 software development grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the primary research and development organization of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The company's proposal, "Building a Coherent World View from Sensory Data," focuses on creating software that can integrate data from a wide variety of video, infrared, range and other sources to improve the performance of robotic search and recovery.

Robots and unmanned air and ground vehicles form an increasingly large segment of the U.S. military's surveillance and security assets. Currently, there are as many as 4,000 robots and unmanned air and ground vehicles deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. One challenge commanders still face, however, is how to integrate the information from each to form a comprehensive picture of what is happening on the ground.

TRACLabs will spend the next two years developing software that merges that data into a single stream and enables personnel working with robots to make better decisions faster. In the first stage, developers will focus on using this information to improve robotic recognition of static objects, such as bomb components, and help robots better manipulate their environments. This will include tasks as diverse as opening doors and drawers to determining a search pattern that will ensure that every square inch of territory has been investigated. In the second stage, the focus will shift to searching for objects that are able to move, from mobile weapon units to human targets.

"This software will have an impact on a wide variety of defense activities," says David Kortekamp, President and CEO of TRACLabs. "Imagine a situation where a unit wants to see if chemical or radioactive weapons have been deployed in a building before they enter. Our software will enable a robot to quickly and accurately assess the situation without putting troops at risk of exposure."

The grant was awarded as part of DARPA's Small Business Innovation Research Program, a Congressional program founded in 1982 to increase the participation of small businesses in federal research and development.

About TRACLabs, Inc.
Since 1994, TRACLabs has specialized in the design and development of robots with the ability to quickly perform complex tasks in unfamiliar environments that can range from remote war zones to the surface of the moon. Today, TRACLabs-developed technology is in use at NASA, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, major research universities including MIT and Stanford, and private-sector companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. To learn more, visit http://www.traclabs.com.

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David Kortenkamp, President and CEO
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