Army Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) plans to test a new
robot designed to perform under-vehicle visual inspections for
explosives, weapons or other contraband while keeping human
inspectors protected from potential attack. The robot, known
as Spector, was developed by Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI),
a designer and manufacturer of unmanned vehicle systems. It
is intended for use at roadside, embassy, border, and other
secure location checkpoints.
Spector was developed under the Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) contract with the Army's Tank and Automotive Research
Development Center's (TARDEC) Robotics Mobility Laboratory.
The goal of the program was to develop a modular, low cost,
more mobile alternative to the conventional Omni-directional
Inspection System (ODIS) platform, while retaining unit maneuverability
in small spaces. The new contract represents the first commercial
order for this platform. The beta units will be tested at several
Army proving grounds before potential field testing in Iraq.
continues development of other robotic platforms under two new
SBIR development contracts awarded by TACOM. One program is
pursuing a small, man-portable robot fitted with omni-directional
drives and advanced manipulator controls. Ultimately intended
for Explosive Ordinance Disposal applications (EOD), the robot
developed under this program will be able to travel at high
speeds, utilizing a three-wheel, omni-directional drive. The
platform will also have an integrated non-battery based power
system enabling higher speeds and longer missions.
Another program focus on advanced autonomous monitoring and
control of robotic platforms, where such machines will be able
to monitor their own health and adjust controls just as a human
driver would do compensate for changes in the vehicle's condition
such as a damaged tire, reduced engine output, or a change in
the vehicle's center of gravity. ASI plans to develop a dynamic
vehicle controller which will use the diagnostic/prognostic
data generated by future combat vehicles to give unmanned vehicles
more comprehensive intelligence about their own operating condition.