The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) will continue the ground-breaking Cargo UGV project and has awarded a contract to Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, using Oshkosh TerraMax® unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technology. The ONR is advancing the project originated by the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.
The Cargo UGV project was initiated in 2010 to identify how UGV technology could be integrated into the Marine Corps’ tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) fleet to reduce Marines’ exposure to threats and to streamline logistics convoy operations. Under the MCWL Cargo UGV effort, two Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs) were upgraded with TerraMax systems that enabled fully unmanned operation. Government evaluations revealed that the state-of-the-art autonomous capability offered practical utility in a variety of operational situations. Live force experiments in which combat-veteran Marines were trained to operate the UGVs in concert with manned vehicles furthered the development of concepts of operation for robotic systems in combat environments.
“The Cargo UGV project has pushed unmanned technology into the TWV realm like no other effort, and the results have proven how mature and ready TerraMax UGV technology is for use in the field,” said Chris Yakes, vice president of Advanced Products Engineering at Oshkosh Corporation. “We are eager to continue work with the ONR to further demonstrate the readiness level of UGVs and the interoperability of TerraMax technology with other mission systems.”
Under a contract through the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC), Oshkosh and the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) will work with the ONR and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) to integrate ONR-specified counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) technologies onto the Cargo UGV MTVRs to demonstrate force protection advantages of semi-autonomous tactical wheeled vehicles for C-IED missions.
The TerraMax UGV system will be enhanced to intelligently incorporate C-IED payloads, such as ground-penetrating radar and mine roller systems, and the TerraMax OCU will provide over-the-horizon situational awareness to accompanying manned vehicles. The system is highly interoperable, using a widely adopted, non-proprietary open architecture messaging standard that enables modularity and easy integration of new subsystems.
The Cargo UGV project is being conducted as part of the ONR’s SIAFU program to demonstrate an integrated “system of systems” that provides on-the-move, autonomous and multi-platform explosive hazard defeat (EHD) capabilities. The current phase of work will culminate in a technology concept demonstration in 2015.