Husky Mobilizes Teleautonomous Bomb Disposal Research

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)



MIT bomb disposal robot

Julie Shah’s team at MIT uses their teleautonomy interface to test elevation of human-robot communications in bomb-disposal applications. The platform, code-named Optimus, is a Clearpath Husky integrated with RE2’s Highly Dextrous Manipulation System (HDMS) and Carnegie Robotics MultiSense camera.



“Mobilization is the big difference between an industrial robot and a field robot,” Shah says. “In an industrial setting you can cage and structure your work, but in the field the robot needs to go to a particular location to do work. Often the location changes.” Shah also needed to mobilize the HDMS in order to improve its reach capabilities and flexibility by approaching objects from different vantage points.



In addition to using Husky for its physical dexterity, the MIT team uses Optimus to test Shah’s teleautonomy interface. It allows human operators to command the robot at a higher level of abstraction. Shah explains, “the interface lets robots do what they’re good at, while humans help with the machine’s deficiencies.” This efficiency will be crucial in the field, when Optimus’s successors will be responsible for preserving human life in the most volatile of settings: rugged and mine-ridden environments.



Shah has iterated many generations of bomb disposal robots over the last 3 years, but the RE2-Husky integration is the most complex system to run teleautonomy software so far. “Husky provides a less expensive but very capable mobile base to be able to prove out the concepts and technologies,” Shah says. Ultimately, her research will increase the efficiency of EOD operators deployed in emergency or disaster situations.

“Husky provides a less expensive but very capable mobile base to be able to prove out the concepts and technologies.”

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