The 21st century will see the dawn of intelligent systems. The 19th century gave rise to advanced mechanical systems, and the 20th century to electro-mechanical systems. The information age will feature more than a proliferation of information – it will mark the advent of autonomous intelligent machines, such as robotic air, ground, and sea vehicles for military and civil applications, and ubiquitous intelligence embedded in commonplace objects. The U.S. Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) will replace conventional battlefield weapons, such as tanks and artillery, with robotic platforms. The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) will replace manned combat aircraft. The Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) of the Department of Transportation will lead to the driverless car and truck. Aside from the impact of intelligent systems on the military, they will have a profound impact on the U.S. and global economy. The improvement in industrial and service sector productivity will exceed that of the industrial and electronics ages. The wealth of the world will increase exponentially again, benefiting the poor nations as well as the rich.
The Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL) was established in 2003 in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Rechnology (NIST) at the Center for Technology and Systems Managements (CTSM) of the University of Maryland, along with a number of companies in the vicinity focused on robotics and intelligent systems. The ISL will perform research and development on all aspects of intelligent systems.