Inauguration of NRL’S Laboratory for Autonomous Research

The Naval Research Laboratory announces the inauguration of its Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR). This newly opened LASR facility will incorporate the components of science and technology into research prototype systems.

Lucas is a Mobile, Dexterous, Social (MDS) robot, in the Prototyping High Bay in the Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research. NRL scientists use Lucas and two other MDS robots, Octavia and Isaac, in human-robot interaction research and to develop cognitive robotic systems. Areas of research include embodied cognition, voice and gesture recognition, and dynamic autonomy. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Located at NRL Washington, D.C, this new lab facility will serve as a basic research platform to help carry out autonomous systems research in favor of the Navy and Marine Corps. The inaugural ceremony took place on March 16, 2012.

At the event, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John Holdren, was the guest speaker, introduced by the Chief of Naval Research, RADM Matthew Klunder.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the LASR facility was held on April 8, 2010. The sophisticated facilities in this unique laboratory will facilitate novel researches from basic- to applied- and integrations in various fields. LASR supports sensor systems, power and energy systems, intelligent autonomy, networking and communications, human-system interaction, and platforms.

LASR facility features:

  • Desert High Bay’s 18-foot-high rock wall provides a desert-like environment where testing of robots and sensors are conducted.
  • Prototyping High Bay accommodates small autonomous air and ground vehicles, and its operators, also enabling closed loop control of systems and precision ground truth of the vehicles’ movement.
  • Tropical High Bay, a 60-foot by 40-foot greenhouse features re-creation of a Southeast Asian rain forest.
  • Littoral High Bay is a 45-foot by 25-foot by 5.5-foot deep pool that includes a wave generator and a slope.
  • Electrical and machine shops support the construction of prototypes. The sensor lab contains an anechoic chamber and large environmental and altitude chambers and a power and energy lab.
  • Outdoor test range is a part of highland forest with a waterfalls, stream and pond, and terrain.

Alan Schultz will be first Director of NRL's LASR. Darrell King will serve as LASR’s Facilities Manager.


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