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Army, University of Maryland Sign Cooperative AI Research Pact

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The University of Maryland and the U.S. Army have signed a five-year cooperative agreement that will focus on exploring artificial intelligence systems and approaches to implement autonomy across different operating domains.

Academic research teams at University of Maryland campuses in College Park and Baltimore County will participate in 18 initial projects with the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory to help the service branch develop AI and autonomous technology platforms, ARL said Wednesday.

Researchers will work to build common development and testing infrastructure that features a virtual environment to demonstrate collaborative autonomy.

They also aim to formulate methods for human-machine coordination in battlegrounds and to advance self-driving vehicles that apply computer vision, remote sensing and modern robotics tools for terrain navigation. 

“No matter how autonomous we think a system is, a human operator will interface with it at some level," said Derek Paley, a UMD professor and director of the Maryland Robotics Center. 

"The goal is to migrate the dangerous, dirty, and dull work to the autonomous platform,” added Paley, who serves as lead researcher on the agreement.

Under the agreement, the Army will give collaborators access to the service branch's Robotics Research Collaborative Campus located near Middle River, Maryland, to conduct demonstrations.

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