Navy Robots? Testing? Brian Heater of Engadget tells us about the United States Navy’s autonomous robot testing facility:
All the fun of the desert and the rainforest from the (relative) comfort of home? Sign us up. That’s the promise offered by the admittedly awesome named Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research(that’s LASR, for you abbreviators out there), first announced last month. The robotics lab, housed in a $17.7 million building at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, offers up around 50,000 square feet, a portion of which is aimed at reproducing some of the Earth’s more extreme ecosystems to test out naval robotics. The facility is home to firefighting robots, swimming ‘bots and hydrogen fuel cell-powered unmanned aircrafts, to name but a few.
The Naval Research Laboratory opened the doors of the massive facility up to members of the media today, and Engadget was on-hand along with a moderate sized gathering of fellow reporters. Included in the tour were two simulated environments. The Tropical High Bay is designed to mimic rainforest terrain, with flowing water, fog and climate controlled temperature and humidity. The Desert High Bay is a bit let complex in its environmental simulation, limited to a sand pit, rock way, and adjustable light, smoke and wind.