Adding voice control to unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) systems can speed up the time it takes an operator to complete some tasks, says Ohio-based company Think-A-Move.

Think-A-Move has developed a proprietary earpiece (SPEAR, or Speech Processing Earpiece) for its voice control system that is effective even in high-noise environments, said vice president of sales and marketing Jonathan Brown, although the company hasn't yet tested it around explosions and weapons fire.

Think-A-Move conducted a field experiment in 2008 at Fort Benning on a UGV simulator and then a limited use assessment in 2009 at Camp Pendleton with an iRobot PackBot 510. In that exercise, the system exhibited 90 percent speech recognition accuracy and was able to speed up the completion of some actions by as much as six minutes.

"Speech control has different roles that it can play and different benefits it can bring to the warfighter," he said.

Think-A-Move's system uses a dictionary of some 40 phrases that can control various robot functions, including speed and direction and moving the camera or gripper. The phrases must be repeated exactly, although Brown said the company is working on "natural speech" direction, where the system would be able to extract meaning from an operator's words without them having to be exact. The company is also working on a software module fine-tuned to recognize British accents.

Source: Flight Daily News