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Virtual Robots for Research and Training Applications

Background

The Jacobs virtual robots are based on USARsim, a high-fidelity simulation of large scale urban and indoor environments where different robot platforms can operate in various scenarios. USARsim is an extension of the Unreal Tournament game engine. The underlying Karma physics engine provides kinematically correct robot motions, sensors from a rich selection of standard models can be added to the robots to gather data, and the different USARsim scenarios cover various environment conditions ranging for example from difficult terrain as locomotion challenge to smoke from fires as visual obstruction. The simulator is mainly laid out for Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR). But it is also well suited for work on mobile robots at large. It is an ideal tool for testing prototype implementations of robot algorithms in general. But its main strength from a research perspective is the possibility to investigate multi-robot teams. From an application viewpoint, USARsim is a very beneficial tool for training and exercising.

The virtual robots supplement the real Jacobs rescue robots. Each virtual robot runs the autonomous software developed by Jacobs Robotics, i.e., intelligent functions for perception, control, mapping, planning, cooperation, and so on.