DARPA is Advancing UGV Simulation Platform

DARPA is Advancing UGV Simulation Platform

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DARPA (the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) wants to ensure that algorithms can be developed, validated and deployed more efficiently to enable autonomous unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in diverse terrains and operating conditions. The agency is trying to achieve this through its Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency – Simulation (RACER-Sim) program.

As part of the program, Duality Robotics has been selected to provide advanced environmental simulation technology to help bridge the gap from virtual to real-world environments through its Falcon platform for advanced digital twin simulation. 

The company will also build a 80 km2 realistic environment wherein autonomous vehicle systems can be designed and validated, ensuring their ability to maneuver off-road landscapes as precisely as humans.

To capture the natural variations of a physical environment, no two square meters of this environment will be identical. In addition, the environment can be tuned to increase or decrease vegetation cover, rock sizes and other operating conditions using Pixar’s open-source Universal Scene Description (USD) format — the interoperable 3D data model that forms the backbone of Duality’s platform. 

The other key building block of the platform is the Unreal Engine from Epic Games which functions as a 3D operating system for the Falcon simulator as well as an authoring ecosystem with readily available 3D assets and talent.

The RACER-Sim program is seeking to develop technologies that bridge the gap from simulation to the real world and significantly reduce the cost of off-road autonomy development. While the past decade has seen increased use of simulation in developing field robotics, the military off-road environment is especially challenging and complex. Over a four-year timeline, RACER-Sim will develop technologies that are applicable to the off-road environment in the areas of algorithm development, simulation element technologies, and simulator content generation, according to yahoo.com.