This page is meant to be a storehouse for publications that reflect activities of interest to AUVAC and its members. If you have publications that should be added to this list please let us know and we will include them.

A Roadmap for US Robotics

October 31, 2016 via - University of California San Diego

 From Internet to Robotics 2016 Edition

The roadmap document contains sections specific to different use-cases for robot technology across: transformation of manufacturing, next generation consumer and professional services, healthcare and well-being, ensuring public safety and exploring earth and beyond. Each of these areas are analyzed in detail in separate sections. Subsequently, a section provides a unified research roadmap across topical areas. Sections are devoted to workforce development and legal, ethical and economic context of utilization of these technologies. Finally a section discusses the value of access to major shared infrastructure to facilitate empirical research in robotics. 

To reiterate: this document is primarily a technical roadmap. Its central purpose is to update Congress on the state of the art in robotics and to help policymakers determine where to channel resources in order to realize robotics’ great promise as a technology. Robotics develops against the background of a legal, policy, ethical, economics, and social context. This chapter has identified some of the challenges that recur in ongoing discussion of that context.

With this in mind, we conclude by tentatively offering a handful of recommendations aimed at preserving, fostering, and expanding the discussion of how robotics interact with society:

  •   Greater expertise in government. In order to foster innovation in robotics, maximize its potential for social good, and minimize its potential for harm, government at all levels should continue to accrue expertise in cyber-physical systems.

  •   Support of interdisciplinary research in government and academia. Few issues in robotics, or any other context, are amendable to resolution by reference to any one discipline. Government and academia should actively work to support and incentivize interdisciplinary research and breakdown siloes between expertise.

  •   Removal of research barriers. As alluded to above, independent researchers should be assured that efforts to understand and validate systems for the purpose of accountability and safety do not carry legal risk under existing law or doctrine. 

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Unmanned and underneath: Stay in the know about underwater drones

October 16, 2016 via - Bard University

Unmanned submersibles could provide a low-cost alternative to manned platforms for missions that are particularly dangerous, like minesweeping, or for mission that are tedious, like patrolling. UUVs, particularly those envisioned by DARPA, could also be a way to assert military presence in an area that is difficult to reach or geopolitically contentious. Like the minesweeper concepts, UUV platforms could be built into the capabilities of existing manned platforms like the Littoral Combat Ship or submarines. Alternatively, larger UUVs may be deployed from ports and conduct missions independent from manned ships.

However, as a 2009 RAND study of UUV systems pointed out, some of the Navy’s proposed UUV missions were not practicable and remain out of reach. Issues with reliability, specifically within the realms of power systems and underwater communications, suggested to the RAND researchers that the technology was not quite mature enough. The controversy over the Remote Minehunting System is one example of how the Navy has struggled to develop an adequate countermine alternative to minesweepers and to successfully sell UUV technology to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. While UUVs present significant advantages in terms of cost and safety over manned platforms, it will be some years before UUVs are accepted into the fleet.

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Game Changers in Undesea Warfare

October 27, 2015 via - Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

CSBA Testimony before the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee on “ Game Changers- Undersea Warfare

The same advancements that are improving ASW capabilities will also enable a new generation of sophisticated counter-detection technologies and techniques. For example, against passive sonar a submarine or unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) could emit sound to reduce its radiated noise using a technique similar to that of noise cancelling headphones. Against active

sonars, undersea platforms could—by themselves or in concert with UUVs and other stationary or floating systems—conduct acoustic jamming or decoy operations similar to those done by electronic warfare systems against radar.

New power and control technologies are improving the endurance and reliability of UUVs, which will likely be able to operate unrefueled for months within the next decade. The autonomy of UUVs will remain constrained, however, by imperfect situational awareness. For example, while a UUV may have the computer algorithms and control systems to avoid safety hazards or security threats, it may not be able to understand with certainty where hazards and threats are and what they are doing. In the face of uncertain data, a human operator can make choices and be accountable for the results. Commanders may not want to place the same responsibility in the hands of a UUV control system— or its programmer.

As sensors and processing improve, UUVs will progressively gain more autonomy in operating safely and securely while accomplishing their missions. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy can expect to shift some operations to unmanned systems for which the consequences of an incorrect decision are limited to damage and loss of the vehicle, rather than loss of life or unplanned military escalation. These missions could include deploying payloads such as sensors or inactive mines, conducting surveillance or surveys, or launching UAVs for electronic warfare. For missions where a human decision-maker is needed, unmanned systems can operate in concert with submarines or use radio communications to regularly “check-in” with commanders.





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