The Naval Research Laboratory has been actively involved in research in unmanned and autonomous systems since its opening in 1923. From one of the first unmanned ground vehicles to the development of more than 200 prototype air, ground, underwater, and space platforms, and from smart sensors to smart batteries to robots that reason like humans, NRL's research has been at the forefront.
In March 2012, NRL opened its new Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research. This Laboratory provides specialized facilities to support highly innovative research in autonomous systems, including intelligent autonomy, sensor systems, power and energy systems, human-system interaction, networking and communications, and platforms. The Laboratory capitalizes on the broad multidisciplinary character of NRL, bringing together scientists and engineers with disparate training and backgrounds to tackle common goals in autonomy research at the intersection of their respective fields.
Here, we present a timeline of NRL's research in unmanned and autonomous systems from 1923 to 2012. You can download the timeline in PDF form above or view it on our Facebook Timeline.