RAND and CMU Collaborate on Military Robotics Research

The U.S. Army seeks to make extensive use of robots in its future forces. With help from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Army has been exploring the benefits of robotics in military applications. To assist the Army and DARPA in this endeavor, RAND's Joint Warfare Simulation Analysis Activity (JWSAA) and Carnegie-Mellon University's (CMU) Robotics Institute have embarked on a collaborative approach to military robotics research and analysis. Tom McNaugher, Director of RAND's Arroyo Center, the Army's federally funded research institute, and Dr. Chuck Thorpe, Robotics Institute Director, co-hosted a seminar at CMU in Pittsburgh on April 16, 2002 to help forge an initial working relationship.

As a result of that conference, Dr. Tony Stentz, Deputy Director of CMU's National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC), is collaborating with RAND staff John Matsumura and Randy Steeb, from the JWSAA, to bring Stentz's multiple robotic ground vehicles into a simulated battle environment.

RAND and CMU bring together cutting-edge engineering knowledge and the analytic support necessary to assess options for integrating robotics into the force. Their intent is to capitalize on this new relationship by providing research for government policymakers involved in framing acquisition studies and for military combat and doctrine developers working on developing new approaches in a battle space comprising traditional and nontraditional methods and weapons systems.

Key CMU participants at the conference were Dr. John Bares, Director, NREC and Steve DiAntonio, Director of Strategic Business Development, NREC. Seminar participants from the government included Jon Bornstein, Army Research Laboratories, Sam Wilson III, DARPA, and Captain Paul Landry, Combat Service Support Battle Lab.

John Matsumura, director of the JWSAA, is at the center of organizing RAND's participation in this collaboration. He is assisted by Randy Steeb in RAND's Santa Monica office and John Bondanella of RAND's Pittsburgh Office.