JSS Computing, Inc.    Vision Software on the Move

Cogniton™ - Technology Overview
     Until now, even the most advanced robots were unable to move autonomously and reliably without visual orientation aids in the environment and without geographic plans input into the system.  While such orientation aids or hard coded geographic maps allowed robots to move in a particular space, such robots have had no “awareness” of their location and movement.  Recent products on the market have the ability to recognize objects that were not pre-programmed into the system, but they are still unable to avoid or by-pass arbitrary objects and obstacles in a controlled manner at high speeds.

     The software developed by JSSC enables mobile robots to move rapidly, independent of external markers or pre-programmed geographic maps in unfamiliar space.  This is made possible by JSSC’s novel technology, Cogniton™, which allows the robots to be continuously aware of their environment and their own position.  While the robot is driving over the natural structure of the environment the current environment is stored in a 3-dimensional model, and the robot’s relative position and speed is determined from the changes in the images produced by the cameras and other sensors.  Furthermore, the software can reconstruct in real time a 3D model of any object in its environment.

    These advances are made possible by novel approaches to solve the vision problem, which are based on insights about the mechanisms of the biological and psychological processes that enable human vision, perception and orientation. This approach enables the system to use its control of the sensors and vehicle motion to dramatically increase the speed and accuracy of 3-dimensional perception, thereby enabling the robot to move and navigate fast and safely in unknown environments.  The software is able to construct detailed maps of the environment from the relative changes of the images of the surrounding objects, including the structure of the ground.  At the same time the system can be instructed to search for specified objects.

    The system will have the capability to collect and integrate positional data from GPS units, cell tower signals, and cameras, and provides a natural basis for a collaborative architecture of a group of robots that can operate completely autonomously, or be supervised and directed by human operators. By providing a robust basis for reliable operation in unknown and unstructured territory, this technology enables a new level of fast and safe autonomous navigation and enhanced path planning, enabling autonomous operation and data collection at previously unreachable locations and at an unprecedented pace. The algorithms are so efficient that no expensive, special-purpose hardware is required.

    The vision software is integrated with sophisticated planning software. In order to perform a given task, the program generates a plan (sequence of actions) that lead from the current state to the "goal" state, in which the task is completed.  The system will "understand" written and oral instructions; that is, it will translate these verbal instructions into goal configurations in the 3D model space, which are used by an intelligent planning system to quickly generate efficient plans.  The system then performs the sequence of actions specified by the plan until the goal is achieved. If problems occur along the way and the current plan is no longer applicable, a new plan is generated and executed.

    The video below shows a prototype version of the software as is processes the video signals from a camera mounted on a car. As the car drives along the road the software reconstructs the environment to determine the location and movement of the car, and identify obstacles (right panel). This information would allow a vehicle to automously drive to a distination point when given access to the vehicel's controls.

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