processed sensor data, a priori data, relations, and errata.
A replacement platform would have been too
expensive. “While we often think of the government as
spending money like mad — and having had an inside view I
can say that is sometimes the case — there wasn’t enough
enthusiasm to get a budget for a multi-hundred thousand
dollar robot,” Scherer commented.
The XUV Robot From the ARL
While at the ARL, Scherer worked on other robots
including the XUV (experimental unmanned vehicle). The
ARL used the XUV for developing technologies for
reconnaissance missions. The XUV specifically tests the
feasibility of autonomous mobility for unmanned vehicles to
work in tandem with manned vehicles in deployment. “The
robot would drive around the woods and take pictures of
possible enemy locations. This research is vital to bringing
robots into regular scenarios with people,” says Scherer.
The XUV applies a specially developed sensor package
and an Army operator remotely controls the robot. The
remote control device uses an interface with a map display
for the area, mission analysis, planning, and execution tools,
and displays and controls for acquiring reconnaissance and
The XUV also affords soldiers the opportunity to
experience working in tandem with autonomous robotic
vehicles before being deployed with them. Roboticists like
Scherer receive feedback from these XUV field experiments
about the human element and soldier’s needs in these
kinds of deployments. The XUV helps the Army to develop
autonomous mobile technology for successful use on a
variety of terrains.
“I worked in command and control which considered
how battlefield commanders would maintain situational
awareness while giving orders to multiple units, potentially
including robotic assets. One of the most important aspects
of integrating robots into the battlefield is to ensure they
do not get in the way of the soldiers. Robots being
introduced to a social system need to unequivocally make
our lives easier or they’ll be rejected,” Scherer pointed out.
Making Robots for Movies
As mentioned, Scherer has worked on robots that
appeared in films such as The Hobbit, Man of Steel, and
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SERVO 11.2013 11
The Army's XUV robot leading the way in a staged recon mission.
Here, the XUV reconnaissance robot on which Derek Scherer performed
testing and assessments appears to be running for its life from friendly
fire. While much of what the XUV did is confidential, it served in part as
a swift, sharp mobile photographer, taking pictures of potential enemy
Info about Derek Scherer
Derek Scherer's Golem Workshop
Public information on the Army's XUV
Movies Derek Scherer worked on:
The Hobbit —
Man of Steel —