NASA Awards R5 Robot to Northeastern University and UMass Lowell

A collaborative team composed of Northeastern University and UMass Lowell will receive one of two humanoid robot awards from NASA, an R5 “Valkyrie” robot, building off of the teams’ work with humanoid robots at the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The 2nd award will go to MIT. Researchers at the NERVE Center will be developing a set of tasks and test methods, in addition to the extreme environments already created, for Valkyrie to experience in anticipation of the 2017 Space Robotics Challenge (SRC). You can read the full announcement here.

The New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell is a dedicated research, testing, and training facility. The mission of the NERVE Center is to improve the development of robotic systems by both academic researchers and corporations by facilitating evaluation throughout the design cycle.


The NERVE Center houses replicas of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Standard Test Methods for Robots, water test areas designed in collaboration with the Army, an indoor rain area, NERVE-specific apparatuses, and the ability to simulate a variety of operational scenarios and experiment set-ups. The indoor arenas allow for year-round testing of robot systems with water, sand, and other features difficult to maintain outdoors in New England.┬áNine thousand square feet is dedicated to test courses and apparatuses. Each course is outfitted with a video recording system to capture robot testing sessions throughout the entire facility. NERVE Center employees are available to aid with testing and adjust apparatus settings.


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NERVE Center's brochure

The center is conducting research to continue the development of standard methods for evaluating robots. For example, there are few validation methods that have been developed for fully autonomous robot systems, an area with a great deal of current research and development. Feedback on new metrics is solicited from NERVE Center members.



UMass Lowell NERVE Center, 1001 Pawtucket Boulevard, Lowell, MA 01854
For more information, please contact or call 978-934-6600