Important work on US Army autonomous vehicles performed by Robotic Research, LLC was highlighted in a recent article in National Defense Magazine. The article, entitled “Autonomous Convoy Tech Moves Toward Official Program”, was published on February 22, 2019. Excerpts from the article are shown below:
After years of exploring the technology, the Army is gearing up to turn its autonomous truck convoy demonstrations into a formal program of record…. [E]ncouragement by Army leadership is accelerating the timeline for a leader-follower capability, Bernard Theisen, autonomous ground resupply program manager at the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, said in an interview…. After examining the technology at TARDEC, Army Secretary Mark Esper was so impressed that he asked to push the timeline forward, Theisen said…. The money for moving the initiative into a formal program of record is already built into the service’s program objective memorandum for future years, Theisen said…. Besides leader-follower, TARDEC’s autonomous truck work includes exploring operating modes such as driver warning, driver assist and teleoperation, he said….
Under the Expedient Leader-Follower contract, Robotic Research provides the autonomy software and hardware kits for integration onto the Army’s Palletized Loading System (PLS) vehicles. These autonomous kits provide all of the high-level automation in the program, building on top of the drive-by-wire capabilities. To date, Robotic Research has been contracted to provide 70 autonomy kits for program development and operational technical demonstrations with an option to procure up to 1250 kits. Under the Autonomous Ground Resupply contract, Robotic Research continues to develop new capabilities, including Retrotraverse and other advanced behaviors.
Robotic Research CEO Alberto Lacaze stated, “The Robotic Research team is excited by the growing commitment by Army officials to field autonomous vehicles for logistical resupply and other critical missions. As the sole provider of autonomy software and hardware kits for the Army’s Expedient Leader Follower and Autonomous Ground Resupply vehicle programs, we stand ready to deliver superior autonomous capabilities for America’s brave soldiers.”