To lighten soldiers’ packs and even save lives, software that integrates human behaviors with robotics hardware is now being developed for the US Army. The 5D Behavior Engine (BE) technology, which is part of a collaboration between 5D Robotics, Segway, and DRS Technologies, utilizes ultra-wideband (UWB) technology as opposed to GPS for navigation. As a result, the robot can follow a human or a tagged vehicle while avoiding collisions. Because the UWB tags run more quickly and smoothly than GPS technology, this approach also allows for more behaviors to be customizable and thus adaptable to new environments.

The 5D BE software enables robots to carry hundreds of pounds of gear while remaining agile in difficult terrain. Medical professionals estimate that soldiers carry approximately 100 lbs. of gear— much more than the recommended maximum of 10% to 15% of their body weight. That added weight slows down their movements and causes fatigue, which the use of robots can help prevent. In addition to lessening human workloads, the use of such robots can reduce training time and help to prevent injuries.