Army mulls options for Robotics Innovation Center


The Army is considering opening a Robotics Innovation Center at Fort Benning, Ga.

Don Sando, deputy to the commanding general at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, announced the plan at the Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.

Whether physical or virtual, the Robotics Innovation Center will be a chance for the Training and Doctrine Command’s Maneuver Robotics and Autonomous Systems Office to work with other Defense Department groups, academia and industry. The center might not bring these groups together physically, Sando told GCN, but its goal is to unites them around a shared purpose – integrating robotics and autonomous systems into current and future combat teams.

Within the year, details will be available on the  Robotics Innovation Center launch and membership, Sando said.

One of the first opportunities to bring these groups together will be at an industry day the Army plans for June. When the event is announced it will include a challenge related to autonomous systems, and “if you think you can be a part of the solution to that problem come on down [to the industry day] and let’s talk,” Sando said.

A second event is being planned for October, aptly named Bot-tober Fest, that will include two challenges: directed or kinetic energy and underwater operations. “Shooting robots and swimming robots,” Sando explained. “It’ll be neat.”

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