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This blog is for spatial analysts be they professionals, student, academician or just curious about spatial technologies. Spatial technologies include Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems, mobile spatial devises, and other spatial related programs (i.e., Google Earth.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spatially-Aware Autonomous Mobile Robots (SAAMRs) and Adaptive Mapping


The above video by the sFly project funded by the European Union  is to demonstrate the capability of micro-aerial SAAMRs to map areas. The ultimate purpose is to assist in search and rescue, property inspection and environmental monitoring.

The element that transforms robots into SAAMRs and makes them extraordinary, going far beyond merely remote-controlled mobile machinery, is the ability of these mobile robots to sense and map their environment in real time so as to be able to explore new terrains and adapt to them.--Adaptive Mapping.

As shown in the above video.micro-aerial SAAMRs can also be utilized to collect geographic information, if they are equipped with geo-referenced cameras, GPS  and other spatial technologies. This would greatly facilitate such tasks as creating an up-to-date urban GIS (particularly in those areas where there is none, as in developing countries), an environmental GIS for specific areas, detailed mapping of areas that are remote or inhospitable areas, at presumably at a much lower cost than using other methods.

Further implications of SAAMRs, once they become more affordable and pervasive in our society will be revolutionary such as: self-driving automobiles, truck and mining vehicles; automated ships, cargo and passenger planes,  non human security monitoring, search and rescue, etc.  There are several companies already manufacturing SAAMRs and it is expected their numbers will increase. Other implications are beyond the scope of this blog entry, whose main purpose is to introduce the potential of SAAMRs.

In the previous blog entry, I focused on the linkage between Geographic Information Science and the Mars Rover ‘Curiosity.’  However, the discussion should be broadened to consider the inclusion of SAAMRs under the umbrella of GIScience, which is the category one would place the Mars Rover ‘Curiosity' and other terrain based planetary SAAMRs.. As other outer space ventures, their technology advances have the potential to transform other technological areas , such as the increased sophistication of earth bound SAAMRs and other technological changes that can not be anticipated now. 

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