The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) recently received a five-year, up to $ 24 million contract proposal from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to conduct fundamental research in establishing a proving ground distributed collaborative that will support research on autonomous vehicles in various environments and fields at Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on the RELLIS campus of the Texas A&M university system.
Research will focus on the development of virtual proving grounds designed to enable researchers to develop, test and demonstrate artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for autonomous vehicles. Visual, thermal, LIDAR and RADAR datasets in relevant and diverse environments will also be collected, annotated and maintained in real and virtual environments that can be used to evaluate artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomy algorithms. in real and synthetic environments.
The Distributed Autonomous Robotic Experiments and Simulations (DARES) research project will be conducted in coordination and collaboration with ARL researchers at the Robotics Research Collaboration Campus (R2C2) at Graces Quarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
“The cooperation agreement on distributed autonomous robotic experiments and simulations between ARL and the Texas A&M System will promote the acceleration of fundamental research in autonomy, artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform the future of the human-agent team” said Andrew Ladas, head of the ARL program. “We are excited to partner with Texas A&M System and use their state-of-the-art campus, in addition to lab facilities and assets, to take this research to the next level and engage them in ARL Distributed. Virtual Proving Earth. We look forward to partnering and enhancing the capabilities of our soldiers in the future operating environment. “
Srikanth Saripalli is DARES Principal Investigator at Texas A&M. Saripalli is a professor in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his DARES research team consists of 20 faculty members in mechanics, electrical, aerospace, and computer science.
“The ability to connect R2C2 to StarLab on the RELLIS campus via the DARES program allows us to quickly test and validate the capabilities of autonomous vehicles at multiple locations simultaneously, which will accelerate the ability to integrate research results into environments synthetic, ”said Saripalli. “This will improve the quality of virtual simulations and ultimately increase the resilience of the capabilities of autonomous vehicles. “
James Hubbard, Jr., Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. ’45 Chair I Professor and Founder of StarLab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, provided the vision for the DARES project.
“DARES will allow the establishment of a virtual testing ground on the RELLIS Campus and relies on a team of experienced world-class researchers. This is indeed an exciting and unique opportunity for Texas A&M to provide a valuable asset to the military and its stakeholders, ”said Hubbard.
Hubbard was a fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M and was brought to college in 2018 through the Governor’s University Research Initiative and the Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Research Initiative.
“The combination of the Governor’s Academic Research Initiative and the Chancellor’s Research Initiative is a tremendous tool that places the Texas A&M University System in a distinct advantage for Identification, Recruitment, Selection and Hiring. the best professors and researchers to solve problems critical to our state and our nation, ”said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “We are honored to have GURI / CRI faculty members like Dr. Hubbard on our team to help solve the challenges of military modernization. “
Research in the last years of this proposal will take place on the Innovation Proving Ground (IPG) of BCDC. The IPG will provide full instrumentation and 5G capabilities, along with the personnel and systems that will prove essential to capture and deliver the data needed to support the DARES project.
“This is a clear case where the combined vision of our faculty, the Aggie values of service to our nation, and the facilities and expertise provided by BCDC and the State of Texas have combined to produce this valuable research partnership with the Army Research Lab, “said Ross T. Guieb, Director of BCDC.” We appreciate the opportunity to continue serving our current and future soldiers.
As the Texas A&M System gains national recognition in efforts to modernize academia and the military, US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said that “the country’s military readiness depends on innovation, and the Army’s research lab is at the forefront of this fight. “
“This partnership with the Texas A&M System will ensure that we have the best and the brightest to tackle rapidly evolving threats and maintain our strategic advantage in the world,” said Cornyn.