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  Learning Robots (LAGR)

LAGR robot with dual-pair stereo cameras

The goal of the LAGR program is to develop a new generation of learned perception and control algorithms that will address the shortcomings of current robotic ground vehicle autonomous navigation systems through an emphasis on learned autonomous navigation. DARPA wanted the ten independent research teams they selected to immediately focus on algorithm development rather than be consumed early in the project with getting a baseline robotic platform working. DARPA also wanted a common platform so that software could be easily shared between teams and so that the government could make an objective evaluation of team results.

In just seven months, NREC designed and then built 12 LAGR robots which allowed DARPA to hold the LAGR kick-off meeting on time and to provide each research team with a fully functional autonomous platform for development.

Teams were given 4 hours of training at kick-off and were able to program basic obstacle avoidance capability the same day. Developers were able to focus immediately on learning algorithm research because all basic autonomy capabilities along with well documented APIs were provided with delivery.

Careful configuration control for all platforms enables developers to develop software at their home station, load their software on a memory stick, and ship the memory stick to DARPA, which then runs the software on their LAGR robot.

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