TACOM to Test New Robot for Checkpoints, Support Development of advanced Robotic Controls

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The U.S. 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.

The company 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.

 


 

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