The US Army is developing a conversational interface that allows two-way dialogue between soldiers and autonomous robotic systems. Being developed by researchers from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, the Joint Understanding and Dialogue Interface (JUDI) is designed to reduce training costs and improve soldier/robot teamwork.
As robots play an ever-larger role in the military, the problem of control becomes increasingly urgent. Until recently, simple remote control devices like joysticks, keyboards, mice, and teleoperator controls were more than adequate, but the next generation of military robots will be much more intelligent with a high degree of autonomy.
When this happens, the robots become less simple remote sensors and tools and more teammates with which soldiers have to interact at a much higher level. This requires more sophisticated, intuitive interfaces, and figuring out how to train soldiers for working with these machines.
Being developed in support of the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Army Modernization Priority and the Army Priority Research Area for Autonomy projects, JUDI enables two-way verbal conversations between robots and soldiers to complete tasks.