UAH team builds autonomous robot

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- Bridging the gap between man and machine. Two University of Alabama in Huntsville students, with the help of their professor, built something they say can be the eyes and ears of military or first responders.

“The project is about teaching robots how to control themselves,” said Dr. Farbod Fahimi, a mechanical engineer professor at UAH.

Fahimi teamed up with an undergraduate and graduate student to create a robot that takes directions and can operate like a driver-less car — a technology that can one day be applied to real cars and trucks.

“Every we do now and days, everything is automated, everything is hooked up to a computer,” explains 19-year-old Tevon Walker, an undergrad studying engineering who says that drones are the future.

The team has been working on the robot for a year and a half, and they say that their robot is part of the unmanned vehicular future that can function on its own or by remote control.

“What we write in code, it will execute that. That’s the great thing the robot is doing,” said Sai Susheel Praneeth Kode, a graduate student from India who says he appreciates the ‘double opportunity’ to work on the computer as well as on a physical robot.

Equipped with GPS, the robot can learn its surroundings and can serve as the eyes of a firefighter before he enters a burning building.”They don’t know how the house looks, or the rooms’ layout,” explains Fahimi, “but they can find their way on their own.”

The robot can detect and report its conditions to its controller — as well as eliminate the human element where it’s not needed in military or first response missions.

“You eliminate the two-level setup with technology and a human, with a robot its all in the same entity,” said Walker. The team expects the robot to process directions its given while telling engineers what its doing, and seeing.

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