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Before Heading to Mars, Nasa's Valkyrie Humanoid Lands at MIT

By ZDNet

May 6, 2016

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The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration last week delivered a version of its six-foot-tall, 300-pound humanoid Valkyrie robot to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

The Valkyrie robot had a disappointing showing at the 2013 U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Robotics Challenge trials and did not qualify for the finals. The CSAIL team will work to improve the robot's capabilities and help get it ready to assist with space missions.

The researchers will program the robot to autonomously perform a variety of tasks that would enable it to help or even replace astronauts on missions. The robot collects an enormous amount of data, and this makes controlling it in real time very challenging. CSAIL investigators are hoping artificial intelligence and deep-learning algorithms will teach the robot to better navigate the world as it gains experience.

"If we can integrate the autonomy work with our planning and control algorithms, it could result in an unprecedented level of autonomous capabilities for a humanoid robot," says CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake.

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