The Segway RMP (Robotic Mobility Platform) is a new mobile platform based on a Segway Human Transporter (HT). It is faster, cheaper, and can carry a greater payload than existing comparable robotic platforms. DARPA IPTO initiated this effort, with SSC San Diego serving as the technical agent. We provided technical oversight, coordination, and tracking of the conversion by Segway, LLC, of fifteen Segway HT I-series machines into RMPs.
SSC Pacific also coordinated training, storage, allocation, and distribution of these units to a number of robotics research institutions around the United States, where additional sensors were added and experiments conducted. The new geometry of the platform presented the researchers with an opportunity to examine novel topics, including people-height sensing and actuation modalities. Research institutions currently with Segway RMPs (under bailment agreements with SSC Pacific) include:
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- NASA / Johnson Space Center
- Naval Research Laboratory
- Neurosciences Institute
- Stanford University
- University of Massachusetts
- University of Michigan
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Southern California
- Vanderbilt University
In addition to its role as technical agent, SSC San Diego is also working on its own research with the RMPs, including:
- Characterizing the performance envelope of the Segway HT under various configurations (e.g., with standard and more aggressive dirt bike tires),
- Organizing a users group and providing a forum for technical exchange,
- Identifying and collaborating with military users to define requirements and analyze performance with respect to possible applications,
- Exploring outdoor navigation with GPS Waypoints using technology developed by the MPRS project,
- Acting as lead robot in demonstrations of cooperative robotics under the AMCR project,
- Demonstrating robotic mobility for a Life Support for Trauma and Transport (LSTAT) unit, and
- Exploring automated logistics transportation using visual tracking and GPS breadcrumbs in leader/follower mode.
Segway RMP providing mobility to an LSTAT mockup.
Segway RMP powering an automated logistics transport cart.