The Engineer Vehicle Tele-operation Capability

by David J. Busse, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Detroit Arsenal, United States,
Joseph R. Urda, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Detroit Arsenal, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Robotics for Challenging Environments

Abstract:

The Tank-Automotive Robotics Office develops remote and autonomous ground vehicle systems for the U.S. Army. We specialize in command and control of mobility platforms and overall system integration. Minefields encountered during Operation Desert Storm showed that the modern battle field is more dangerous than ever. As a result, the U.S. Army Engineer School initiated a Mission Need Statement for an Engineer Vehicle Tele-operation Capability (EVTC). Such a capability provides a tactical advantage to commanders on today's battlefield. The EVTC concentrates on providing a common processor for interpreting operator input and converting into vehicle control signals. The development of generic controls will allow mobility platform designers to concentrate on the dynamics of the ground vehicle mobile platform. The EVTC will also provide a common vehicle electronic architecture as well as a common communication protocol to assist inter-operability between robotic platforms. As future engineer vehicles come on line, the EVTC architecture will allow adaptation of a new set of actuators and sensors to manipulate the vehicle. If considered early in the design cycle the robotic control interface can be built-in. The Tank-Automotive Robotics Office and the Israeli Aircraft Industries-Ramta Division have developed a Combat Vehicle Teleoperation Kit (CVTK) for the M60-A3 and the Battalion Countermine Set. The CVTK provides remote control for automotive, turret, and fire control functions. The U.S. Army Engineer School (USAES) and the Unmanned Ground Vehicle - Joint Program Office (UGV-JPO) will conduct an EVTC operational evaluation using the CVTK as a concept test-bed. System testing began in October 1992 and will continue through June 1994. The Robotics Office intent is to develop complete remote capability for soldiers in the field. Starting with basic man in the loop controls, developing increasing levels of autonomous tasking, and finally providing fully autonomous supervised control. The kit application of EVTC illustrates this idea. The EVTC will provide a group of controllable vehicles for future integration into the Robotic Command Center (the current test bed for multiple vehicle control). As methods of autonomous control become available, the Robotics Office can adapt the RCC and the EVTC kits to use the expanding technologies. Further adaptations will look at technology transfers to civilian use. Such transfers include route planning and semi-autonomous levels of control for commercial and private vehicles. Other applications include work with the Department of Transportation on intelligent highways and the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Response Team on robotic applications. All this serves our ultimate goal of providing state-of-the-art robotics to relieve soldiers from the hazards of the modern battlefield.



Subject Headings: Vehicles | Education | Architecture | Intelligent transportation systems | Control systems | Integrated systems | Arid lands | Military engineering | United States

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