Oshkosh Defense Signs Agreement With U.S. Army To Further Develop Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation today signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army’s Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to refine technology for the operation of unmanned ground vehicles in convoy missions in real-world environments.
The CRADA calls for a three-year collaboration between the Army and Oshkosh to integrate a Convoy Active Safety Technology (CAST) surrogate system onto Oshkosh’s unmanned TerraMax vehicle.
The objective is to create a lead vehicle that can navigate and operate in missions, while communicating route information to another unmanned follower vehicle. The vehicles must be able to operate near-autonomous in a safe manner among people, animals, vehicles and other obstacles at operational speeds and in tactical environments.
“Oshkosh Defense has a long history of developing military vehicle technology and building trucks that help protect U.S. service men and women,” said Thom Mathes, executive director of product development for TARDEC. “This commitment and knowledge will help TARDEC increase the overall system effectiveness of the unmanned vehicle program so our soldiers can effectively and safely conduct specified military missions.”
Oshkosh Defense first developed unmanned ground vehicle technology in response to a Department of Defense mandate that one-third of military vehicles will be operated autonomously – without drivers – by 2015.
A framework for technology development was provided through Oshkosh’s participation in the 2004 and 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge events and 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge event. The Oshkosh TerraMax completed the 132-mile course in 2005 and was a finalist in 2007.
“Both Oshkosh Defense and TARDEC have devoted valuable energy and R&D resources to develop unmanned ground vehicle technology,” said John Stoddart, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “By leveraging each other’s knowledge and experience, our plan is to meet the military’s 2015 goal and ultimately help save soldiers’ lives.”
Under the CRADA, Oshkosh will provide the necessary hardware and software and assist with integrating the CAST system to ensure it interacts with TerraMax effectively. Furthermore, Oshkosh will use the data to add or modify the vehicle’s behavior modes and trajectory generation to affect relevant tactical behaviors for convoy missions.
Oshkosh also will provide non-proprietary platform information to assist in the integration of CAST technology into other Oshkosh vehicles, such as the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) or Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET). Additionally, Oshkosh Defense will work to integrate the platform and modeling evaluations of prototyped and simulated components and systems.
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