JGW to develop UGV universal operator control unit
JGW International is to work on a project for the US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate to develop a universal operator control unit (OCU) system for four separate robotic platforms used for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).
The award is one of several issued by the S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) as part of a solicitation issued in 2015 seeking rapid technology solutions to help solve critical capability gaps identified by first responders. The effort is part of FRG’s Response and Defeat Operations Support (REDOPS) programme, a joint effort with the FBI to develop countermeasures public safety bomb squads can use to safely and efficiently dispose of IEDs.
JGW will work with S&T and Reamda (the EOD research and development project partner) to develop a platform that will allow bomb technicians to operate multiple robotic platforms using a single, standardised control unit console.
The technology will result in lesser training requirements, greater interoperability and reduction in operating costs from maintaining and transporting multiple devices.
Current OCUs are typically compatible with only one robotic platform, even if the robots are manufactured by the same vendor. Bomb technicians can spend up to eight hours per month training on each system to maintain proficiency. A universal system capable of operating several platforms simultaneously would reduce this training time requirement.
Byung Hee Frantz, REDOPS program manager, said: ‘At the end of the day, having one system that can operate several unmanned ground vehicles will cut back on training hours so bomb techs can focus on field work. It can also enhance mutual aid efforts, allowing for one common operating protocol for up to four robotic devices across federal, state, and local agencies.’
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