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A simulation of two BRACE enabled platforms approaching a casualty before collaboratively lifting and dragging him to a safe position.

Robots to the Rescue: Charles River Analytics Develops Autonomous Robot Collaboration Toolkit to Keep Combat Medics Safe

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has received funding from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to integrate proven sensing and autonomy capabilities into a modular hardware/software Body-Aware Robotic Appliqué for Collaborative Evacuation (BRACE). BRACE can save lives in CASEVAC operations by keeping medics out of harm’s way, and by quicker evacuation of casualties from active battlefields.

“Unmanned systems can provide significant operational benefits for dangerous tasks, such as casualty extraction from active battlefield environments,” said Stan German, Senior Scientist at Charles River Analytics and Principal Investigator on the BRACE effort. “BRACE hardware and software enables plug-and-play integration with current and future unmanned systems, giving BRACE unprecedented adaptability.”

BRACE uses state-of-the-art perception technologies to support effective manipulation, navigation, maneuvering, and obstacle avoidance in varied operating conditions. Our toolkit performs dynamic world modeling, 3D casualty perception, path planning, and localization onboard each vehicle. BRACE also shares relevant information with networked unmanned and manned teammates using a communications manager optimized for constrained-bandwidth networks.

Under a related effort, we developed our Anthropometry and Pose Observation using Low-Dimensional Latent Optimization (APOLLO) toolkit, a key enabler for BRACE. With APOLLO, robots can visually perceive casualties in real time. Our toolkit identifies casualties in an image and models their position and body shape in 3D so that a team of small autonomous robots can remove them from harm.

At Charles River Analytics, our deep understanding of applied robotics and autonomy is the result of extensive research, development, and deployment of solutions incorporating disciplines such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive science, and human factors. This experience uniquely positions us to provide mature and tailored solutions for our customers’ needs.


Learn more about BRACE, APOLLO, and our other Unmanned Systems capabilities at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL 2019—the world’s largest tradeshow for unmanned and autonomous systems—from April 29-May 2 in Chicago, IL. AUVSI represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government, and academia.

This effort was awarded in support of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-18-C-0079 and Contract No. W81XWH-19C-0025. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision.

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