Delivering safety for their safety
On this November 11th, Veterans Day, we honor our beloved veterans and share our appreciation for those that served and continue to serve our country with honor and pride. Today we reflect on the many years that we have worked alongside our U.S. military to support the overall mission of advancing autonomous technologies that will modernize the military and keep our warfighters safe. We also take this opportunity to thank our Edge Case veterans including Phil Koopman, CTO, (U.S. Navy Submarine Force 1983–1987), and Eric Felix, Defense Account Manager, (U.S. Army Field Artillery 2010–2016) who honorably served to defend our country and our freedom.
The safety experts at Edge Case have a long history of collaborating with the U.S. Department of Defense and today, we are proud to partner with them on many of the leading-edge AI and unmanned system projects including the U.S. Army’s:
- Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) program
- Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) program
- Expedient Leader Follower (ExLF)
- Route Clearance Interrogation System (RCIS)
- Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) system
These programs are just a few of our many efforts to ensure safety and dependability are built into innovative vehicles for the future battlefield.
Our journey with the military started in 2008, when our founders, Michael Wagner and Prof. Philip Koopman, while at Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) began building out a safety case for NREC’s Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) that pioneered autonomous vehicles technologies for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Mike and Phil led this innovative safety program to obtain a groundbreaking Safety Release for this large, fast, and highly capable autonomous vehicle, and they proved their methods could achieve program targets without hindering the vehicle’s advanced capabilities development.
The APD team implemented a holistic system safety engineering and test effort for unmanned systems to augment more traditional vehicle test approaches which focused on system level testing. This system level test paradigm breaks down with autonomy as software is both vastly more complex and simultaneously has much greater or total control authority over the vehicle. Our founders leveraged their expertise to implement new autonomous safety best practices and methodologies for the military. Their success resulted in 10 years of follow up projects for the Office of Secretary of Defense that led to the Automated Stress Testing for Autonomy Architectures, as well as the Robustness Inside Out Testing program, which both increased the DoD’s ability to evaluate the inherent complexity of autonomous systems and improve the robustness of real-world systems.
Mike and Phil launched Edge Case Research realizing the need to continue these efforts to support the development and deployment of autonomous systems outside academia that delivered on safety. Since our founding in 2014, our partnership with the U.S. Army has resulted in numerous advances including the development of an innovative “safety checker” architecture along with safety cases that have iterated with capabilities under development. Both milestones are critical in realizing our shared goal with the DoD to build the necessary foundation for rapid development of autonomous systems while simultaneously achieving safety assurance.
Our mission for Edge Case Research is to deliver the promise of autonomy. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that warfighters get autonomy they can rely upon. As our veterans are committed to protecting our country’s safety, we are committed partners with the U.S. Department of Defense to help make next-generation military systems more reliable, capable, and safe.