Center for Self-Organizing and Intelligent Systems, Utah State University
The Center for Self-Organizing and Intelligent Systems, or CSOIS, at Utah State University is a multi-disciplinary research group geared towards the design, development and implementation of intelligent, autonomous mechatronic systems, concentrating recently on ground vehicles and robotics.
The CSOIS was organized back in 1992, getting its funds from the Center of Excellence Program of the State of Utah. During this time, the new organization, which had initial projects two years earlier, started creating infrastructures of personnel and was able to get more projects funded by other sources. One of its prominent projects then was the Utah Manufacturing Extension Program or UMEP, which was under the NIST MEP program whose aim was to help manufacturers with technology.
Several years later, the center’s research further enhanced the theory, development, and application of systems that requires advanced automation, autonomous operation, intelligent decision-making, and learning to arrive at their goal.
Though located inside the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the CSOIS is a horizontally-integrated group, with researchers in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science.
Among the projects created at the CSOIS was one made by one of its graduate students: work on the telepresence over the Internet. This student, George Powell, later went further. He created his own company, which collaborated with Lego Company at The Planetary Society to develop the Red Rover; a robotic kit which uses his Internet telepresence and targets middle schools.
And with their recent focus on ground vehicles, the center has likewise worked on automating two different tractors capable of spraying an orchard autonomously. It was done for one of the biggest companies in the industry, John Deere, and is ready for mass production.
CSOIS has also been developing robotic vehicles for TACOM wherein they have employed smart wheels. These robots are omni-directional vehicles or ODVs which uses smart wheels attached to its chassis. These robotic vehicles are used for autonomous and semi-autonomous applications.