Automatic Mapping (MRCOPS)
Placing robots in harm's way instead of soldiers is a proven, cost-effective way to reduce combat casualties; however, today's tactical robotic systems remain largely tele-operated by humans. MrCoPS is a semi-autonomous approach for improving the success and operations tempo (optempo) of search missions within urban environments by increasing the robot-to-operator ratio.
MrCoPS coordinates multiple robots as they cooperatively search and map a physical structure (such as a building), exchanging map fragments between robots and the human operator(s) to rapidly develop complete situational awareness of the surveilled area. Each robot in a MrCoPS team operates autonomously to search and map an unknown area, but the robots' autonomous behavior can be overridden by the human operator(s), who may elect to tele-operate a particular robot or simply re-task the robot to search a particular sub-region. The result is faster, more accurate situational awareness.
MrCoPS allows the operator(s) to guide the robots through the building as the robots autonomously, and collaboratively, search unknown spaces and build a composite map of the building. Though initially targeted at the iRobot PackBot, MrCoPS can be adapted to any robotic platform, whether terrestrial or airborne.