Today’s ruggedized robots will go where man has gone before—and where man should no longer have to go. While U.S. defense officials are not ready to fully relinquish warfighting duties to robots, they are on the fast track to acquiring technologies and platforms anticipated to shake up military operations.
Over the next decade—if not sooner—the U.S. Defense Department wants more of its military systems to operate autonomously, capable of independently determining the right course of action no matter the situation. The Defense Science Board predicts the department will get there.
Autonomous systems address several problem areas, and reasons to pursue the technology are numerous, according to a technical panel presenting this week at the MILCOM 2016 conference in Baltimore.
The Titus unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is smaller, lighter, faster and smarter than its predecessors in the Andros family of systems. Titus weighs 135 pounds and measures 27 inches long, 16 inches wide and 23 inches high. It retains the four-articulator design common to Andros vehicles and also features a unique operator control unit with a hybrid touch-screen and game system-style physical controls.
The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory trained Marines-for the first time ever-using multiple unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in a convoy. Seven Marines were trained on the Oshkosh Corporation's UGV, which uses the company's TerraMax technology to operate autonomously. TerraMax integrates high-power computers, intelligence, drive-by-wire technology and distributed sensing systems. One operator supervised the control of two vehicles, even in black-out mode during night operations.