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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

US Ground Robotics Research Center

In July the University of Michigan College of Engineering oppened a new research center with four new faculty members, a master’s degree program and 5,000 square feet of additional lab space. With $2 million in projects funded by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) the new Ground Robotics Research Center looks to leverage automotive expertise as the area expands into military ground robotics and intelligent transportation. TARDEC gave another $2 million to seven other universities in the state and U-M will collaborate with these institutions and industry partners.

The U.S. Army has moved its ground robotics activities from Alabama to Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich. The area’s automotive presence makes this a natural fit. Robotic systems that sense a vehicle’s surroundings and react accordingly are the next frontier in auto safety. The military uses robots for transporting cargo, surveillance, unmanned defense, de-activating roadside bombs, rescuing soldiers and more.

The center will research all aspects of ground robotics, including their design, propulsion, navigation and reliability. It will also look at how robots and humans interact and seek ways to improve safety.

In addition to 5,000 square feet of new robotics lab space, the college will provide space for industry offices on campus in effort to foster collaboration.

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