US Navy LASR research facility builds robots, not ray guns

Robot A robot at US Navy LASR research facility .
The US Navy announced a new robotics research facility this week located within the existing Naval Research Laboratory's main site in Washington D.C. The Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research, or LASR, was created to support NRL research in "robotics and autonomous systems of interest to the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense," wrote LASR director Alan C. Shultz, mentioning that a familiar sounding autonomous firefighting robot would be among the lab's projects. The new facility is kitted out with a litany of realistic environmental simulation bays, allowing NRL scientists to pit their research against the elements with ease. Researchers will also have access to machine shops stocked with 3D printers and other goodies, a power and energy lab, a sensor lab and what Shultz calls the "world's largest space for real-time motion capture." Sounds great, at least as long as the research projects never get ahold of a certain Navy-funded AI report.

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