Caltech Opens Autonomous Tech Research Hub

California Institute of Technology has opened a new facility to help further research efforts on drones, driverless cars, robotics and machine learning technologies.

Caltech said Tuesday it established the Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies to serve as a hub for university, industry and government researchers, such as NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory experts, to collaborate in efforts to develop autonomous systems.

One of the facility’s key goals is to develop an unmanned ambulance platform for urban applications which will be used to autonomously transport medical patients.

“The CAST team will also work on the next generation of drones and robots to explore the solar system, including submersible vehicles designed to operate in the ice-covered oceans of Europa, a moon of Jupiter,” says Woody Fischer, steering committee member for CAST.

“The goal is to teach autonomous systems to think independently and react accordingly, preparing them for the rigors of the world outside of the lab,” says Mory Gharib, director of the CAST facility.

CAST will feature an assembly room with an oval track for robots, an aerospace robotics control laboratory designed to help research fly hovering modified spacecraft as well as an enclosed aerodome where researchers can test fly unmanned aerial systems.

The hub will also be a living experiment designed to learn tendencies within the facility and help run itself using the in-house robots.

Caltech noted that industry members and corporations such as Raytheon and AeroVironment will play a role on the development of CAST systems and technologies through partnerships and collaborations.

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