Yes, these tiny robots can (autonomously) move a car

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Mariella Moon
April 28th, 2015
In this article: avert, icra2015, ieee, robotics
Yes, these tiny robots can (autonomously) move a car

A swarm of small robots developed by a team of European scientists can carefully extract and transport vehicles up to two tons in weight. These tiny machines and their larger deployment unit are collectively called Avert, short for "Autonomous Multi-Robot System for Vehicle Extraction and Transportation." As the name implies, the system needs very little human input: it can scan the area and look for potential obstacles to plan its safest route. The deployment unit will then release the small robots, which attach themselves to the vehicle that needs extraction. As much as we'd love for Avert to rescue us from bad parking situations, though, it was specifically developed for use by law enforcement.

According to its website, Avert can help the police extract suspicious vehicles from within buildings and other tight places, or transport cars they suspect are rigged with explosives to a safer location. The team has been developing the system since 2012 and believes production can start as soon as 2016. For now, its members are busy showcasing the system in various conferences, including the upcoming International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2015) on May 26th to 30th in Seattle. You can watch Avert in action above, but folks who don't mind parsing scientific lingo can know more by reading its paper.

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