DSEi 2011: Boeing and John Deere launch UGV
Boeing and John Deere have launched the Assisted Carriage System (ACS) UGV in response to a UK MoD requirement for a reduced burden on the dismounted soldier.
Speaking at the DSEi exhibition in London on 13 September, the companies said the programme began in 2009 as part of the MoD's 5 Task Capability Vision, after which the system was built and testing completed in March this year.
The companies delivered an 'agnostic system with low bandwidth' to the MoD in order to win the initial phase, after which the platform was built, which is based on John Deere's R-Gator robotic utility vehicle.
It is fitted with precision guidance, navigation and obstacle avoidance technology derived from the company's agricultural experience, and benefits from being 'supported and proven'.
The MoD required an optionally manned system with the ability to be at the point of need within ten minutes, and the companies worked with the ministry to develop a UGV that met these requirements.
The vehicle can carry 600kg in weight, double what the MoD initially specified, and contains an easy lift system.
Mark Bodwell, Group Manager for the business development of military affairs for John Deere, described the ACS as having 'existing technology that has been taken a step further'.
The MoD has released an RFI for the requirement, but the companies declined to go through testing on the vehicle again, and they are now waiting on the MoD's decision.
The companies are confident that there is a need for the ACS, especially considering it was listed in the SDSR last year.
They also confirmed that there is other interest in both the US and the UK.
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