U.S. Department of Defense
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Commercial Software Controls Tactical UGVs

Dec. 13, 2022
A pair of commercial software developers were selected for the creation of remoted-controlled tactical UGVs.

Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) have become part of the modern battlefield, performing important duties such as reconnaissance and surveillance while minimizing risk to ground forces. While the hardware for tactical UGVs (see image above) is constructed to military specifications, the U.S. Army is now exploring the use of commercial software for navigation and other UGV functions.

As part of the Ground Vehicle Autonomous Pathways project, the Army partnered with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to prototype a software package, as well as a process to adapt uncrewed vehicle technology to UGVs.

The project involves developing software based on data from multiple sensors, which can be used for remote teleoperation of UGVs while keeping humans in the control loop.

Kevin O'Brien, technical director for DIU's autonomy portfolio, said, “There has been a revolution in the techniques and capabilities of uncrewed ground vehicles occurring in the private sector over the past two decades. We're eager to bring these matured technologies back into the Department of Defense where initial work was inspired by the DARPA Grand Challenges."

After receiving 33 responses to a Ground Vehicle Autonomous Pathways solicitation, a review by an expert panel resulted in the selection of two vendors, Applied Intuition Inc., and Kodiak Robotics.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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