Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST)

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 1:15 am » by Constabul

Samples from listed sites below. Make your own conclusions.




To develop autonomous, multifunctional, collaborative ensembles of agile, mobile microsystems to enhance tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain for small unit operations.

The MAST Alliance is a partnership between ARL, ten member institutions, eight subawardees, & three transition partners.



The MAST Consortium is working towards creating systems of diverse autonomous mobility platforms equipped with miniature sensors to quickly, quietly, and reliably explore and find targets in the MAST scenarios. These platforms will exploit size (tradeoffs between payload, minimum exploitable opening, speed, range, and duration), diversity of locomotion (flight and ambulation), multiple units (redundancy, communication network, observation angles), and diversity of sensing (passive and active, local and long range). The vision of the MAST Consortium is that a diverse combination of mobile platforms can perform the MAST scenario search tasks with low cost and high probability of success. As part of diversity, size will be exploited as smaller platforms can more easily and quietly access small spaces and climb obstacles, and cover a larger area using parallel searches. The research spans the four research centers (Micromechanics, Microelectronics, Processing for Autonomous Operation, and Integration). The MCE research thrust is organized around three capability categories: (1)Aerial Mobility, (2)Ground Mobility, (3) Control & Energetics The technology resulting from this basic research promises to greatly reduce the manpower, time, and risk of military and civilian casualties in missions including building/cave interior searches and small unit perimeter defense.
Required Capabilities:

Aerial Mobility
Hover in place
Translate / change altitude
Flight through three-dimensional environments
Mode Transition
Take off
Land / perch
Pick-up / drop off payload
Building ingress and egress
Ground Mobility
Maneuverability (forward and steering locomotion)
Smooth, level surfaces
Smooth, inclined surfaces
Rough surfaces
Low to high speed range
Mode Transition
Smooth to rough surfaces
Horizontal to inclined/vertical transition
Free-fall to landing (deployment from aerial platform)
Control and Energetics
Gust Tolerance / Rejection
Maneuvering: Hover, translation, ascending/descending flight
Mode transition: Take off, landing, perching, ingress, egress
Adaptation to unsteady aerodynamics in constrained environments (where end-effects are significant)
High bandwidth, low latency sensing and processing for gust rejection
Highly maneuverable platforms with rapid response to control inputs
Ground Disturbance Tolerance / Rejection
Robust to high speed body or leg collisions (passive damping structural properties)
Robust to ambulation on very rough ground
Low latency actuation on MAST scales
Integration of structures and actuators
Efficient power distribution
Alternate energy conversion paradigms
Reflexive navigation, obstacle avoidance, wall following and source seeking behavior
Ability to react quickly to local stimuli in spite of uncertainty in the dynamics and environment
Deliberative flight path control for 3D trajectories and optimal trajectory generation
Integration of reflexive and deliberative navigation approaches
Responsive to user commands by navigation to registered maps
Reason about dynamic behavior and adapt mobility to 3D environments


Sensing refers to hardware required for navigation and ISR. Perception refers to interpretation of sensor data, hence deals with algorithms and their embodiment in software. Processing here refers to computational hardware; while that is needed for many functions in MAST systems, perception is the biggest driver of processing requirements in MAST. Sensing, perception, and processing (SPP) therefore encompass a closely related set of issues that we address as one of our cross-cutting thrusts. Of course, elements of SPP are also closely related to elements of the other thrusts; relationships between thrusts are explored in the Joint Experiments.
Required Capabilities:

State Estimation
Individual localization in absolute terms and relative to nearby objects in the environment
Team localization, to know relative positions of each team member.
Goal perception
Recognizing destinations specified by the user and tracking the location of a destination as the robot approaches
Obstacle detection and terrain recognition
Detecting obstacles ahead of air vehicles in time to avoid them, as well as detecting obstacles above, below, to the sides of, and behind air vehicles
Detecting obstacles ahead of and to the sides of ground vehicles, as well as perceiving terrain properties as needed to adapt locomotion behavior (e.g. gait parameters) to the terrain
2-D and 2.5-D mapping of single and multiple floors of intact buildings
3-D mapping of collapsed buildings and underground structures (caves, sewer systems)
Mapping complex outdoor/indoor/underground environments
Detecting and tracking people
Detecting and locating explosives and their constituents
Providing adequate computational throughput for all needed autonomous navigation and ISR functions


This thrust concerns the use of communication for carrying out mission objectives, optimizing the network connectivity amongst the heterogeneous ensemble of robots using the radio, and coordinating the functions of each robot in the ensemble to optimize both the mission objectives and the radio/network connectivity during the mission. This involves designing a highly-agile low-power radio whose performance is modeled on-line during missions, using the on-board mapping capabilities provided by the sensor payload and processing hardware. This is then leveraged by the mission control software to simultaneously optimize robot functions for mission objectives and network connectivity and bandwidth between the cooperating robots in the ensemble. This thrust brings together tasks related to sensing hardware and software, radio hardware and control, modeling of sensors and the environment, and robot motion in order to facilitate research that is needed to bring about the required functionality, in particular to identify synergies between the different aspects, as well as identifying areas where more research is needed to fill in gaps in capabilities.
Required Capabilities:

Mission-Critical Functions
Verification of coverage with low communications overhead
Motion-planning algorithms that incorporate spatio-temporal constraints in highly uncertain environments
Optimization of ensemble functions due to changing environment and mission needs
Mapping of mission needs to ensemble functions
Ensemble Collaboration
Decentralized, heterogeneous ensemble position inference
Accurate cooperative localization and mapping with low communications requirements
Ground-ground and air-ground sensory fusion for evaluation of mission goals
Exploration of unknown environments enabled by cooperative SLAM
Ensemble Networking
Optimizing choices of power, frequency, bandwidth, and protocol for ubiquitous communication to support collaborative activities in complex and noisy communication environments.
Motion-planning that optimizes mission functions while simultaneously optimizing collaborative activities and communications.
Adapt ensemble connectivity in response to varying mission needs
Adapt network routing policies with motion planning to achieve the required communication data rates for situational awareness
Ensemble Communication
Multi-band low-power radio with variable data rates, communication protocols, and modulation schemes providing adaptable ground-to-ground, and ground-to-air communications in complex radio-propagation environments, with jamming resistance.
Antenna array at high frequency for jam-resistant beamforming and high data rates
Almost zero power band-select filters for frequency-agility to enable jamming resistance and high data rates
Very low power digital modulation and demodulation to drastically improve battery lifetime and communications agility
High efficiency, low-weight, conformal antennas, avoiding issues with protruding antennas hindering motion and stealth
Low-power radio repeaters to enhance communications effectiveness over long distances and in complex environments



PDF Link
http://www.arl.army.mil/www/pages/332/M ... 032011.pdf

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 1:25 am » by The57ironman


......i don't like darpa etc.... :ohno:

....do you think someone has designed a simple magnetic pulse to make them inoperable..?....yet..?..:mrcool:

... :cheers:
Collapse is a series of events that sometimes span years.
Each event increases in volatility over the last event,
but as time goes on these events tend to condition the masses.

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 1:31 am » by Edgar 2.0


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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 1:33 am » by Constabul

Likely that sort of obstacle has been explored.
Prolly wouldn't matter if you had one anyway, unless it was a field emitted 24/7.. kinda like tinfoil hats :P

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 4:03 am » by Noentry

Fantastic tech.
Scares the shit out of me.

This opens up a whole can of worms.
"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
A. A. Milne

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 10:56 am » by Tjahzi

maybe we should get some type of DIY EMP zapper lol.

+ a EMF blocking cap for good measure :peep:

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PostFri Dec 28, 2012 3:05 pm » by ZetaRediculous

Noentry wrote:Fantastic tech.
Scares the shit out of me. I totally agree with that..

This opens up a whole can of worms.

No doubt they will really be imployed for spying against ordinary citizens rather that for "s tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain by enabling the autonomous operation of a collaborative ensemble of multifunctional, mobile microsystems. " :nails:
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
― Terry Pratchett

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