The U.S. Navy opened a Washington, D.C.-based facility Friday that will house the Naval Research Projects Agency’s robotics development, the White House reports.
The Navy will use the Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research to test and develop robots and autonomous systems that will benefit the Marines Corps, the Navy and the Defense Department, Alan Schulz, LASR’s new lab director, said in the White House announcement.
Schulz said the Navy will use the facility to develop technology for unmanned underwater vehicles, autonomous firefighting robots and sensor networks.
The Navy’s lab facilitates researchers’ ability to test and control autonomous ground and air vehicles and their interactions with humans, Schulz explained.
The lab houses the largest space for real-time motion capture, which Schulz said will aid researchers in their simulation testing and research efforts.
Schulz said researchers will be able to use the LASR facility in order to simulate desert and tropical terrains, as well as underwater vehicles. Researchers will also be able to print parts from electrical and machine shops, Schulz said.
The new facility is part of the White House’s National Robotics Initiative that aims to consolidate federal robotics development in the defense, space, health and manufacturing industries, the White House said.
While the Navy set up shop in Washington for unmanned system research, the Maryland-based Naval Academy said it looks to add a cybersecurity major and build a cyber center to better prepare Navy personnel for cyber careers.