Robots are quickly becoming both offensive and defensive weapons, although some unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are serving soldiers by moving heavy equipment across the battlefield. As part of the U.S. Army’s squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) program, multi-utility tactical transport (MUTT) UGVs developed by General Dynamics are being planned as reliable equipment transport solutions within the next several years. Such UGVs rely on secure communications and the MUTT UGVs are leveraging mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology from Persistent Systems, LLC for communications and control among the vehicles and their many sensors and subsystems.
The unmanned vehicles will form in-place networks by means of Persistent Systems’ Wave Relay MPU5 smart radios, which will provide data links for command, control, and communications along with HD video links. General Dynamics Land Systems is employing the MANET communications technology as part of an industry alliance of users known as the Wave Relay Ecosys.
“Persistent is proud to have been selected as the datalink and communications solution for General Dynamics Land Systems,” said Nick Naioti, vice-president of business development for Persistent Systems. “The communication link for UGVs is critical to the warfighter, and the MPU5 will provide General Dynamics Land Systems the range, throughput and expansion capabilities they need for reliable C2 and future sensor payloads.”
Since the Wave Radio Ecosystem involves this common use of compatible radio systems and technology by multiple systems integrators, wireless connectivity and networking among UGVs is greatly simplified even under changing conditions. “We are confident in the MPU5’s ability to support our products and meet the needs of the warfighter in the field,” said Phil Cory, director of robotics for General Dynamics Land Systems. “Incorporating the Wave Relay MANET technology into our system provides the end users with the trusted connectivity they need no matter what the environment.”