NASA and GM Create Cutting Edge Robotic Technology

WASHINGTON -- NASA and General Motors are working together to
accelerate development of the next generation of robots and related
technologies for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a
Space Act Agreement at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston
to build a new humanoid robot capable of working side by side with
people. Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies,
future robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions
and help GM build safer cars and plants.

The two organizations, with the help of engineers from Oceaneering
Space Systems of Houston, developed and built the next iteration of
Robonaut. Robonaut 2, or R2, is a faster, more dexterous and more
technologically advanced robot. This new generation robot can use its
hands to do work beyond the scope of prior humanoid machines. R2 can
work safely alongside people, a necessity both on Earth and in space.

"This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only
for NASA, but also for the nation," said Doug Cooke, associate
administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "I'm very excited about the new
opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile
robots provide across a wide range of applications."

"For GM, this is about safer cars and safer plants," said Alan Taub,
GM's vice president for global research and development. "When it
comes to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and
vision technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety
systems. The partnership's vision is to explore advanced robots
working together in harmony with people, building better, higher
quality vehicles in a safer, more competitive manufacturing

The idea of using dexterous, human-like robots capable of using their
hands to do intricate work is not new to the aerospace industry. The
original Robonaut, a humanoid robot designed for space travel, was
built by the software, robotics and simulation division at Johnson in
a collaborative effort with the Defense Advanced Research Project
Agency 10 years ago. During the past decade, NASA gained significant
expertise in building robotic technologies for space applications.
These capabilities will help NASA launch a bold new era of space

"Our challenge today is to build machines that can help humans work
and explore in space," said Mike Coats, Johnson's center director.
"Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too
great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability
for construction and discovery."

NASA and GM have a long, rich history of partnering on key
technologies, starting in the 1960s with the development of the
navigation systems for the Apollo missions. GM also played a vital
role in the development of the Lunar Rover Vehicle, the first vehicle
to be used on the moon.

For more information about Robonaut 2, visit:


For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


For more information about General Motors, visit:


Source: NASA

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