These technologies can go from carrying out a few assigned goals using robotic actions in specified environments – like a battlespace, a natural disaster area, an industrial setting, or on a particular road – to being actual self-managing machine partners to humans, capable of recognizing, adapting, and responding to complex, real world conditions in numerous and unpredictable circumstances.
How will Next-Generation Autonomy Technologies differ from today’s technology?
Autonomy technologies and autonomous systems have become increasingly sophisticated over the years. However, the recent convergence of smaller, faster microprocessors, decision-making artificial intelligence (AI), more sophisticated algorithms, more sensitive optic detectors, better object-avoidance and environment sensors, improved power supplies, and more subtle robotic actuators has led to some products that seem to exhibit a high degree of autonomous behaviors. Even so, to be true Next-Generation Autonomy Technologies, products and systems still need to make significant leaps. To be viable, they will need to:
- Serve as partners with humans instead of requiring human direction
- Be able to anticipate human needs and adapt to address them
- Tailor communications based on mission or assignment requirements as well as perceived human cognitive capacity at the time
- Sense, identify, and manage a large set of complex, human defined mission
- Recognize and adjust for robotic system malfunctions and failures
- Be trustworthy to always operate properly and safely, especially when handling dangerous materials and during human-machine interactions(HMI)
In the defense category, as autonomous systems continue to be integrated into the battlespace, it will open up new mission applications that are yet to be identified. The next generation of autonomy technologies will be developed to address those new mission areas.
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