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National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC)
National Robotics Engineering Center
10 40th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Center Homepage
This page last updated - June 2010.
Current Projects [Past Projects]
3D Visualization for EOD Robots
NREC developed a plug-and-play camera and range finder module that gives range information and assists operators of EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robots during manipulation.
Agent Based Design
Novel agent-based approach for the design of modular robot manipulators
Real-Time System for Adaptive Optimization of End-to-End Quality of Service
Assisted Mining
NREC applied robotic sensors to the development of semi-automated continuous mining machines and other underground mining equipment.
Autonomous Haulage
NREC and Caterpillar are jointly developing the Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), a commercial system for automating large off-highway trucks.
Autonomous Loading
The Autonomous Loading System (ALS) completely automates the task of loading excavated material onto dump trucks.
Autonomous Platform Demonstrator
The Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) will develop, integrate and test next-generation unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technologies.
Autonomous Robotics Manipulation
Carnegie Mellon’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM-S) team develops software that autonomously performs complex manipulation tasks.
Autonomy & Control
NREC is implementing an end-to-end control architecture for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to reduce integration risk in the US Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program.
Framework for the development of distributed, secure, reliable, robust and scalable systems
Belt Inspection
NREC designed, built and tested a high-speed "machine vision" system for monitoring the condition of conveyor belts such as those used in underground coal mines.
Black Knight
NREC developed sensing, teleoperation and autonomy packages for BAE Systems' Black Knight, a prototype unmanned ground combat vehicle (UGCV).
Caisson Construction 3D Modeling System
NREC developed a 3D imaging system for underwater excavation and placement of caissons that Kajima Corporation used to support the foundation for the Nagasaki Bay Bridge.
Cargo UGV
NREC is teaming with Oshkosh Defense to develop autonomous unmanned ground vehicle technologies for logistics tactical wheeled vehicles used by the US Marine Corps.
The Cargo UGV operator control unit (OCU) seamlessly controls one or more Cargo UGVs traveling in convoy formation.
Collaborative Agents
Cooperative robotics
Composable Simulation
Software environment which facilitates creating simulations of mechatronic systems
Computer Vistion Clinical Monitoring
NREC and Columbia University researchers investigated whether computer vision could be used to monitor patients in clinical trials for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) therapies.
Container Handling
NREC developed autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic systems for moving containerized plants to and from the field.
NREC designed and developed the Crusher vehicle to support the UPI program's rigorous field experimentation schedule.
DRC Tartan Rescue Team
During the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident, robots weren’t able to inspect the facility, assess damage, and fix problems. DARPA wants to change this.
Dexterous Haptic Interface for Interaction with Remote/Virtual Environments
Convey finger touch and force information to a human operator
Distributed Design System - CODES
Providing people, tools, and information for integrated robotics design
Dragon Runner
NREC collaborated with Automatika, Inc. (AI) to develop Dragon Runner, an ultra-rugged, portable, lightweight reconnaissance robot for use by the U.S. Marine Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) for urban reconnaissance and sentry missions.
Driver Awareness
The Driver Awareness and Change Detection (DACD) system lets soldiers view their vehicle’s surroundings from any perspective.
Drug Discovery System
An advanced computer vision system identifies and classifies the behavioral effects of new drug compounds, speeding the work of drug discovery.
EOD Robot Operator Assist
NREC demonstrated an add-on situational awareness and autonomy package for EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robots.
Enhanced Teleoperation (Mini SACR)
NREC developed a real-time 3D video system to improve situation awareness in teleoperation and indirect driving.
Enhanced Teleoperation (SACR)
NREC’s miniaturized SACR (Situational Awareness Through Colorized Ranging) system fuses video and range data from a small panoramic camera ring and scanning LADAR sensor to provide photo-realistic 3D video and panoramic video images of an EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robot’s surroundings.
GPS-Free Positioning
NREC is developing MINT (Micro-Inertial Navigation Technology), a wearable navigation and localization aid.
Golf Course Mowing
NREC collaborated with the Toro Company to develop a prototype autonomous mower that can be used in the maintenance of a golf course, sports field or commercial landscape.
A Single-Wheel, Gyroscopically stabilized Robot
Hopping Robots
NREC is researching and developing all-terrain hopping robots for space, search and rescue, and defense applications.
Hybrid Safety System (HSS)
The Hybid Safety System (HSS) enables humans and industrial robots to work together safely.
Infantry Support
NREC designed, developed, field tested and successfully demonstrated a high-mobility tactical unmanned ground vehicle (TUGV) for the United States Marine Corps.
Intelligent Assembly Modelling and Simulation
Facilitating assemblability checking in a virtual, simulated environment
Intelligent Electrocardiogram
An intelligent portable electrocardiogram (ECG) will automatically diagnose arrhythmias that could lead to sudden cardiac death (SCD).
LNG Pipe Vision
A pipe-crawling robot visually inspects pipes in liquid natural gas (LNG) plants for corrosion.
Laser Coating Removal
NREC and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) are designing an environmentally friendly system to remove coatings from aircraft.
Learning Robots
DARPA needed to supply a standard, mobile robot platform to research teams performing on the Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR) program.
Manipulator Coordination
NREC implemented an autonomous manipulator for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robots that greatly simplifies manipulator use and coordinates the movements of the manipulator and its platform.
Material Transport
NREC developed AMTS, an innovative system for accurately guiding robotic material transport vehicles in industrial settings.
Medical Image Registration
NREC designed and implemented a medical image registration system to accurately estimate a patient’s position for therapy.
Heterogeneous group of small autonomous robots with modular payloads and sensing platforms
Mini Crusher is a small, versatile robot inspired by the world-famous Crusher UGV.
Negative Obstacle Detection
NREC is developing a perception system to accurately detect negative obstacles in the path of an unmanned vehicle (UGV).
Off-Road Autonomy
The UPI program improved the speed, reliability, and autonomy of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) operating in extreme off-road terrain.
Orchard Spraying
NREC converted a John Deere tractor into an autonomous vehicle for spraying water in orchards.
Paint Stripping
NREC designed, built and tested the centerpiece of a semi-automated paint removal system that is now in everyday use and available for commercial sale by Chariot Robotics, LLC.
Path Planning for Autonomous Vessel
A path planning system helps an autonomous surface vessel to navigate autonomously while obeying international maritime law.
Peat Moss Harvesting
NREC developed an add-on perception system for automating peat moss harvesting.
NREC designed, developed and tested an innovative autonomous perception and navigation system for the DARPA PerceptOR program.
Perception for LS3
NREC’s sensor system for DARPA’s Legged Squad Support System (LS3) enables LS3 to perceive its surroundings and autonomously track and follow a human leader.
Pipeline Explorer
NREC designed, built and deployed Pipeline Explorer, the first untethered, remotely-controlled robot for inspecting live underground natural gas distribution pipelines.
Robotic Simulation
NREC collaborated with RAND Corporation to incorporate NREC’s field-proven robotic mobility and planning software into RAND’s suite of high-resolution, force-on-force simulators.
Row Crop Harvesting
The NREC row crop harvesting project targeted three levels of automation: “cruise control”, “teach/playback” and full autonomy.
Safety for UGVs
A flexible, behavior-based approach to safety lowers the risk of operating a large, fast-moving UGV.
Sensabot Inspection Robot
NREC is developing an inspection robot for use in oil and gas production plants.
Specialty Crop Automation
The Integrated Automation for Sustainable Specialty Crops Farming project teams the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), the University of Florida, Cornell University and John Deere to bring precision agriculture and autonomous equipment to citrus growers.
With development of the Spinner unmanned ground vehicle, an NREC-led team delivered technical breakthroughs in mobility, mission endurance and payload fraction.
Strawberry Plant Sorter
NREC is developing an automated, machine vision-based strawberry plant sorter.
Stress Testing Autonomous Systems
Stress Tests for Autonomy Architectures (STAA) finds autonomy system safety problems that are unlikely to be discovered by other types of tests.
Sweep Monitoring
NREC developed the Sweep Monitoring System (SMS) for training soldiers and demining personnel to use hand-held land mine detectors.
Teleoperation Booth
NREC has developed an immersive teleoperation system that allows operators to remotely drive an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) more effectively over complex terrain.
Temporal Segmentation of Human Motion
Temporal segmentation of human motion
Traffic Data Analysis
NREC and FHWA are developing techniques for automatically analyzing large amounts of video collected from vehicles traveling on highways.
Tree Inventory
A tree inventory system uses vehicle-mounted sensors to automatically count and map the locations of trees in an orchard.
Tunnel Mapping
NREC is pioneering research and development of a low power, small, lightweight system for producing accurate 3D maps of tunnels through its Precision Tunnel Mapping program.
Urban Challenge
Carnegie Mellon University and General Motors built an autonomous SUV that won first place in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.
We are exploring a mix of physics-based and data driven high fidelity sensor modeling techniques. The goal is to develop a system that can provide much more realistic UGV simulation than current techniques. Such simulation will play a crucial role in speeding up the development cycle, and in validating platforms. Sponsored by the US ACE ERDC.
Vehicle Classifier
A vision-based vehicle classifier uses machine learning techniques to identify cars and trucks in video images.
Vehicle Safeguarding
NREC designed, developed and tested a fully autonomous system capable of following pre-taught paths while detecting and avoiding obstacles.
Vehicle Stability
NREC has developed an easy-to-implement solution to an important problem — stability margin estimation as it relates to vehicular rollover and tipover vulnerabilities.