MITRE has unveiled a laboratory focused on the technologies that power self-driven vehicles, drones, commercial aircraft, tanks and more.
The Mobile Autonomous Systems Experimentation Laboratory was designed to research ways to accelerate the use of those technologies as interest and use grow. The lab is a place for developing and evaluating technologies as well as demonstrating capabilities to sponsors interested in scenarios where autonomy can be applied. Where individual, siloed projects have can be costly and duplicate efforts, the MITRE lab is a place where autonomous modules and hardware are easier to mix and match across programs, leaders said.
“Often, seeing the technology in action spurs additional ideas and conversation,” said Zachary LaCelle, a senior autonomous systems engineer at MITRE. “We have the experts available to assist in research integration for people coming to us with specialized questions. We can also test new ideas, prototype them, and transfer them out to industry and other researchers.”
The lab’s centerpiece is the commercially available MASE Jeep, a Grand Cherokee augmented for autonomy by an aftermarket vendor and outfitted by MITRE engineers with sensors, analytic and data recorders and powerful processors. The lab allows for testing hardware, software and approaches that will help inform government sponsors as well as collaboration partners, officials said.
“We have human interaction researchers who are experts at cognitive loading and how to effectively communicate between computers and people,” LaCelle said. “We have cyber experts and autonomy experts working on ground transportation, urban air mobility, and defense applications. Our systems thinking mentality accelerates solutions to all of these problems. This broad combination of domain expertise allows us to provide additional, unique perspectives in this cutting-edge challenge area.”
MITRE has been involved with self-driving vehicles for 15 years and has been active in autonomous technology in the national airspace for decades.