MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University has signed a deal with the Army and Marine Corps to study how to coordinate robots on the ground with unmanned vehicles in the air.

MTSU's Unmanned Aircraft Systems program and the military will study how to add low-cost hardware and software to existing small robots so air and ground systems can communicate and work together.

Interim program director Mark Blanks said the research could be used to direct a ground robot to investigate an object spotted by an aviation drone.

The agreement announced Monday allows the military's Robotic Systems Joint Project Office to lend and transfer research equipment to MTSU and Army and Marine personnel to help develop MTSU coursework.

MTSU has an existing research deal with the Army involving its remote-controlled Raven aircraft.