Rugged US Army Autonomous Robot Vehicle
The U.S. Army’s Autonomous Platform Demonstrator, or APD, is a 9.6-ton, six-wheeled, hybrid-electric robotic vehicle currently undergoing developmental and mobility testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; the demonstrator vehicle represents the state of the art in unmanned ground vehicle mobility technology. With its advanced hybrid-electric drive train, the 15-foot-long vehicle, being developed by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, can achieve speeds of over 50mph.
Source / copyright : US Army.
When equipped with its autonomous navigation system, the APD is configured with GPS waypoint technology, an inertial measurement unit and computer algorithms which enable it to move autonomously at speeds up to 50mph while avoiding obstacles in its path.
“The vehicle has obstacle detection and avoidance technology,” said Dr. Jim Overholt, senior research scientist in robotics, Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.
The mobility testing is aimed at advancing and developing the robot’s ability to maneuver at higher speeds while maintaining extreme terrain-ability at lower speeds.
“We’ve run it through courses, slope testing and brake testing,” said Chris Ostrowski, associate director for Vehicle Electronics and Architectures at TARDEC.
The APD is currently testing high-speed maneuverability, such as lane changing. “This is a challenging controls problem with a skid steer vehicle. We want the robot to be stable when performing maneuvers like this, but we also want it to retain the other mobility characteristics that it possesses at lower speeds,” said Ostrowski.
Other mobility characteristics include the ability to climb a one-meter step, navigate a 60-percent slope, and pivot turn in place.
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