The Aerospace Robotics Laboratory is a research group in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. Research in the ARL focuses on improving robotic performance through the application of feedback control, integrated sensing systems, and task-level autonomy. All of the research is developed and validated on experimental hardware systems. These systems include both mobile robots (land, sea, sky, and space) and a variety of fixed manipulators for space and factory applications.

The interaction of the human-robot team is the core focus of the ARL. We are developing techniques which enable operators to interact with robots at a highly-intuitive "task-level", where the human has full strategic control and commands tasks or objectives, and the robot autonomously performs lower-level duties such as path-planning and precision task execution. This Objective-Based Task-Level Control (OBTLC) allows human-robot systems to take advantage of the relative strengths of each member of the team: humans in reasoning, interpretation, and perception, and robots in precise control, efficiency, and repeatability. At all times the human is capable of stepping down to a lower level of control, if the robot finds a task which it is not intelligent enough to complete. This makes OBTLC systems very robust to unknown or unexpected situations.

The other research in the ARL supports this goal by providing robots with the tools needed to successfully complete their objective tasks. This includes extending the capabilities of global sensing systems such as computer vision and GPS to provide robots with an awareness of the world around them, and control techniques to allow more effective task execution.


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