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!
Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation
17.08.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Low bandwidth? Use more colors at once
17.08.2018 | Purdue University
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences