A Modular Detection and Response System robot

Robotic vehicles drive battlefield innovations

Autonomous robots joined soldiers in exercise demonstrating how soldiers and unmanned systems can more easily work together.

In the demo, two autonomous ground vehicles navigated to their destinations while streaming real-time video. Meanwhile, soldiers in a manned chase vehicle verified the communications relay by watching the video streams from each vehicle and sent it back to the commander vehicle via a radio network.

The demonstration showed how commanders can leverage unmanned ground vehicles, or UGVs, to create beyond-line-of-sight communications, according to Chuck Shoemaker, lead for autonomous systems at the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). The exercise also showed that soldiers could create plans and task the UGVs to execute a mission, leverage the sensors on board the unmanned systems for situation awareness and get eyes-on-target for target detection and engage the enemy from beyond line-of-sight.

Various directorates under CERDEC as well as members from industry participated in the research and development of the project, the Army said.

“We are setting a new baseline for a number of technologies used on robotic vehicles that are a step beyond teleoperated systems,” Shoemaker said.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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