MIT has been tasked by NASA to make a robot that will be used for future space missions. The Robot has been named Valkyrie and will be six feet tall and will weigh 290 pounds. The Robot will be developed and tested for future space missions by researchers at the MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
NASA revealed today that MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) was one of the two institutions who will be given the Robot Valkyrie, which will be a 6 foot, 290-pound humanoid robot to be tested and fine tuned to be ready for future space missions including missions to Mars and beyond.
CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake and his team was one of the many entrants for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge and was picked for the project that will receive as much as $250,000 a year for two years from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directive. Russ Tedrake and his team will develop the algorithms for Valkyrie or R5. R5 is a part of NASA’s endeavor to create more adroit independent robots that will eventually help and even replace humans for extreme space missions.
NASA feels that Humanoid robots can help and even take the place of human astronauts in the extreme space environments. Robots like R5 could be used in upcoming missions where it will act as a forerunner robot that will work in conditions not suitable for human astronauts and create an environment that will be favorable to humans. They could also assist the human crew in future space missions.
Interestingly Tedrake is also a part of the CSAIL’s new $25 million Toyota-funded research center for autonomous cars. The research is focused on creating better and autonomous decision-making algorithms ad systems that will allow the vehicles to recognize and plot a course through their surroundings safely, without human involvement.