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Autonomous cars are on their way to our driveways and the technology is soon to be put to good use in the military.
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is participating in daily live demonstrations at Eurosatory 2014 to showcase the company’s TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) technology.
Attendees are able to observe an Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) equipped with TerraMax UGV and a mine roller autonomously navigating a course that simulates military route clearance missions.
“In today’s conflicts, the frontlines have been blurred and troops carrying out logistics missions are exposed to improvised explosive devices and other lethal threats previously reserved for battle zones,” said U.S. Army Major General (Retired), John Urias, executive vice president, Oshkosh Corporation and president, Oshkosh Defense. “The Oshkosh TerraMax UGV has the potential to reduce troops’ exposure to these threats, while optimizing the number of troops needed for such operations.”
Oshkosh said its TerraMax UGV enables military leaders to remove personnel from leader and/or follower vehicles traveling high risk routes and provides greater standoff distance from explosive threats. The company added TerraMax UGV technology can readily adapt to account for mine rollers, ground penetrating radar, and other emerging systems used for the detection, disruption and pre-detonation of explosive hazards.
“Vehicles equipped with TerraMax UGV can be used in concert with manned vehicles for a spectrum of operations including logistics convoys, route clearance and counter-IED missions, airfield construction and support, and more,” said Urias. “This technology allows vehicles to operate for extended periods of time through challenging terrain, dust, darkness, rain, snow and other adverse conditions without the fatigue or loss of awareness that can afflict human operators. This capability really forces us to think differently about how we conduct certain ground operations.”
Oshkosh explained it is conducting its TerraMax UGV product development independently and also in collaboration with the U.S. Marine Corps and Army to identify opportunities to use UGVs for route reconnaissance and route clearance missions. These current projects build upon previous contracts with the U.S. Office of Naval Research for the Cargo UGV Project, which focused on bringing UGV capabilities to logistics convoy missions and reducing troops’ exposure to threats.
Oshkosh added the TerraMax UGV is a modular, multi-sensor appliqué kit that can be tightly integrated into new production vehicles or retrofitted onto legacy vehicle platforms. Vehicles equipped with the TerraMax UGV can seamlessly collaborate with manned vehicles to carry out missions at full operational tempo. TerraMax UGVs function autonomously across varying terrains and in all weather conditions, day or night – with original vehicle payload and performance retained.
The company said through 10 years of Oshkosh research and development, including independent and U.S. Government testing, TerraMax UGVs have the proven ability to:
- Obey traffic laws
- Avoid obstacles
- Travel at self-regulated speeds
- Operate in adverse weather conditions
- Operate during GPS blackout for more than 6.2 miles without performance degradation
- Navigate rough terrain including off-road routes
- Maintain prescribed speeds up to 35 mph
The TerraMax operator control unit (OCU) enables a single operator to supervise multiple autonomous vehicles, added Oshkosh, as well as provide follower vehicles with over-the-horizon situational awareness. The system is highly interoperable, using a widely adopted, non-proprietary, open architecture messaging standard that enables modularity and easy integration of new subsystems.
Oshkosh said it is teamed in this project with the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) of Carnegie Mellon University for perception system and autonomy software development.