Fourteen nations, 34 ships, five submarines, more than 100 aircraft, and 20,000 personnel will participate in the biennial RIMPAC exercise June 23 through Aug. 1.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory worked closely with Virginia Tech and TORC in the creation of the four Ground Unmanned Support Surrogates (GUSS) that will be used for their ability to support a platoon of U.S. Marines.
The unmanned vehicles can carry up to 1800 pounds and can move at the speed of a troop on foot, or about five miles per hour. The vehicles are designed to re-supply troops, to reduce the actual loads manually carried by Marines, and to provide an immediate means for the evacuation of any casualties in combat. A Marine unit will operate GUSS during the Naval Laboratory's enhanced company operations experimentation that coincides with RIMPAC.
Virginia Tech and TORC, a company founded by alumni of the university's robotics program, http://www.torctech.com/ share a very successful track record on their collaborations. Together, they developed autonomous vehicles for the Urban Challenge competition sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2006 and in 2007. "The focus of the collaborations is to leverage the research capabilities of the university with the commercialization capabilities of a small business," said Al Wicks, professor of mechanical engineering (ME) at Virginia Tech and faculty advisor to the team. http://www.me.vt.edu/people/faculty/wicks.html
They took home third place honors in 2007 when their vehicle completed DARPA's 60-mile course in less than six hours, with no human intervention allowed past the starting line.
The four GUSS vehicles headed to Hawaii are an outgrowth of the technology developed for these DARPA competitions, Wicks said. The sensors have been greatly improved, as well as the perception, planning, and control algorithms to navigate complex environments.
The Urban Challenge featured a cooperative environment with well-defined roads for the competition. When the GUSS vehicles are used by the Marine Corps in Hawaii, they will be "off-road and not in a cooperative environment," Wicks said. "This is a big step forward in autonomous vehicles."
Michael Fleming, a Virginia Tech ME graduate and the founder and chief executive officer of TORC, explained the team synergism, saying "I believe our team of government, academia, and industry all working together has provided the Marine Corps with a well-balanced solution."
As an example, existing algorithms developed by students under previous TORC/Virginia Tech partnerships, were used to create a customized version of the TORC AutonoNav (autonomous navigation system) product to provide the advanced off-road tactical behaviors required to meet the needs of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.
The rapid development and experimentation on the GUSS project was made possible through the use of TORC's Robotic Building Blocks product line, said David Cutter, marketing manager at TORC. This enabled Virginia Tech engineers to leverage off-the-shelf technologies and focus on system integration challenges. The entire development process was completed in less than a year, with the first prototype delivered for testing in six months. The additional three vehicles were produced in the next five months to be shipped to the RIMPAC exercises.
The WaySight, developed by TORC, is the primary operator interface for controlling the GUSS vehicles. Using the one-pound handheld unit, Marines are able to command the unmanned vehicles in several modes depending on the mission. The operator may use the WaySight to rapidly plan a new path, take remote control of the vehicle, or direct it to follow at a safe distance with the autonomous navigation system taking over.
The project is part of a five-year contract between the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and Virginia Tech that is supporting a number of different projects. The contract is an on-going agreement between Dahlgren and Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) to foster innovative research.
The engineering students who participated in the project and their hometowns are: Patrick Currier of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Phillip Tweedy of Lynchburg, Va., James May of Atlanta, Ga., Jason Doyle of Blue Ridge, Va., and Everett Braden of Roanoke, Va.
Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones
28.03.2017 | Science China Press
Timing a space laser with a NASA-style stopwatch
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences