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Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

Rheinmetall Mission Master dominates European ground robotic systems competition at ELROB 2018

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

At the end of September, and for the first time, Rheinmetall took part in ELROB with its unmanned multi-mission “Mission Master” vehicle. At Europe’s largest exhibition for military ground robotics, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master team entered the fray, taking on a number of competing teams. Made by Rheinmetall Canada, the cargo version of this versatile vehicle turned in a particularly compelling performance in the “Mule” category.

In all, six teams took part in this competition category. Mules are essentially automated pack animals – autonomous transport vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads and equipment. They had to handle two scenarios. The teams each had thirty minutes to cover a 1,400 m-long route with their mule. During the first run, Rheinmetall impressed the crowd with an impressive performance. Then, following the second, came the gratifying result; despite competing for the first time, the Rheinmetall Mission Master clearly dominated the contest, scoring 3,151 points, twice as many as the robotic vehicle that took second place (1,547 points), and way ahead of the one that came in third (167 points).

The Mission Master: modular, adaptable, flexible – a combat effectiveness multiplier for soldier systems

The cargo version of the Mission Master was exhibited to a large group of defence specialists for the first time at Eurosatory 2018. Rheinmetall developed this variant to reduce the combat load carried by troops in the field, contributing to faster movement and greater operational efficiency. Rheinmetall’s new robotic vehicle can operate in hazardous, difficult-to-reach terrain, in turn contributing to the survivability and protection of troops deployed in harm’s way.

Moreover, the Mission Master can be networked with advanced soldier systems such as Future Soldier – Expanded System, Gladius 2.0 or Argus. In Rheinmetall’s “System Infanterie”, the Mission Master serves as a force multiplier for infantry sections or squads equipped with Rheinmetall’s Future Soldier – Expanded System technology. Fully networked with dismounted combat troops, it not only takes a weight not only off the soldiers’ shoulders, it also relieves the pressure on military leaders.

Characterized by extreme flexibility, the Rheinmetall Mission Master can be quickly configured for a multitude of different missions thanks to modular, easy-to-install build-ons. Its mission capabilities include logistics, surveillance, force protection, evacuation of wounded personnel, firefighting and CBRN reconnaissance. It can also serve as a radio relay station. Speed, scalable autonomy and proven mobility in all types of terrain make the Mission Master a strong and dependable comrade for small combat units.

www.rheinmetall.com

Natick’s Exoskeleton Work is a Powerful Step Toward the Future of Soldier Lethality

Friday, October 19th, 2018

NATICK, Mass. — With exoskeleton technology, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, is helping Soldiers to step into future.

The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is working with Lockheed Martin Space and Missile on a human augmentation system prototype. Trademarked under the name “ONYX,” the system is a powered, knee-based, mobility enhancing device that shows great potential for allowing Soldiers to stay in contact while maintaining peak performance longer, with equal or increased warfighting power. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo by Lockheed Martin Space and Missile)

Soldiers are the most important, effective platform in the U.S. Army. In finite quantity, these warfighters are being asked to move farther, faster, and carry larger loads — all while performing under harsh and challenging conditions. Responding to the Army Chief of Staff and the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team, NSRDEC awarded an “Other Transaction Agreement” for a human augmentation system prototype to Lockheed Martin Space and Missile, or LMCO.

Trademarked under the name “ONYX,” the system is a powered, knee-based, mobility enhancing device that shows great potential for allowing Soldiers to stay in contact while maintaining peak performance longer, with equal or increased warfighting power.

The NSRDEC’s exoskeleton effort will initially focus on the challenges faced by Army Close Combat Forces, validating their needs with data from ongoing combat operations, reports, user focus groups and validation Table Top Exercises.

Understanding that 90 percent of casualties since WWII are from the Close Combat Force, the Army Chief of Staff has directed that one of his strategic focus areas emphasizes improving the lethality, maneuverability, mobility and survivability of the Army’s most valuable asset — the individual combatant. The Army seeks to cover more ground with fewer forces through strategic systems that integrate innovative technological concepts such as exoskeletons, other worn advanced capabilities, and tactics.

Working with NSRDEC leads, the LMCO ONYX team will integrate user-based feedback into the new design and improved system performance and deliver demonstration-ready prototypes in FY19.

By NSRDEC Public Affairs

Aquabotix Joins Information Warfare Research Project Consortium

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

• Aquabotix becomes a member of the Information Warfare Research Project (“IWRP”) consortium.

• Will gain access to the US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Other Transaction Authority agreement, valued at US$100 million.

• A faster path to contracting with the U.S. Government. 

UUV Aquabotix Ltd (ASX:UUV) (the “Company” or “Aquabotix”) is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a member of the Information Warfare Research Project consortium (“IWRP” or the “Consortium”), a consortium focused on advancing information warfare capabilities to enhance United States Navy and United States Marine Corps mission effectiveness.

Aquabotix was approved to join IWRP as a demonstrated technology leader with competencies in autonomy, assured communications, and battlespace awareness – all key focus areas for the consortium. As a member of IWRP, Aquabotix will gain access to US Space and Naval Warfare (“SPAWAR”) Systems Command’s Other Transaction Authority (“OTA”) agreement previously awarded to the Consortium. The aggregate amount of this particular OTA across the Consortium is US$100 million over the next three year period, and the OTA will be used as a vehicle to advance information warfare technologies and innovation delivery to the U.S. fleet. The OTA enables the Consortium members to engage in a broad range of activities advancing such technologies and allows for the delivery of new technology faster and more efficiently than traditional U.S. federal acquisition requirements might permit.

In a release made last month by the United States Navy, Rear Adm. C.D. Becker, commander of SPAWAR Systems Command was quoted as stating, “The IWRP OTA will accelerate acquisition and bring non-traditional sources, research and development labs, and industry together to provide new, innovative information warfare solutions.” SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic Deputy Executive Director, Bill Deligne, was also quoted remarking on the use of OTAs, stating, “This mechanism is faster and more attuned to getting something quickly that we want today, as opposed to traditional federal acquisition. […] While speed is a critical element, reaching beyond the traditional DoD industrial base, further into the commercial sector to capture new, innovative solutions, is also a key element of the IWRP.”

Whitney Million, Chief Executive Officer of Aquabotix commented, “It is a privilege to be joining other industry leaders in the IWRP. We anticipate participation in this consortium will provide access to key partners and customers while enabling rapid research and prototyping using non-dilutive funding options under the OTA to support our goal of continuing to develop innovative and leading-edge solutions and product offerings for the U.S. and allied governments.”

Scorpion MKIV-A Available For Sale

Monday, June 18th, 2018

4×4 magazine called the Scorpion, the ultimate off-road vehicle.

This Scorpion was built for the DARPA Grand Challenge and also competed in the DARPA Urban Challenge. It has performed proof of concept demonstrations for the military and is currently Preferred Chassis Fabrication’s show vehicle. The MKIV-A can be purchased in its current robotic configuration or PCF will convert it to conventional human drive.

For info and pricing email sales@preferredchassis.com.

Persistent Systems, LLC to Provide Network Technology for Endeavor Robotics’ $10M Order from USMC

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Wave Relay® MANET developer will support Endeavor’s award by providing radio network for FirstLook® Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)
New York, N.Y. – June 12, 2018Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), developer of the Wave Relay® mobile ad hoc network (MANET), announced that they will supply radio network technology and systems for Endeavor Robotics’ recently announced order from the U.S. Marine Corps. Under the $10 million award, Endeavor will provide the Marines with its FirstLook UGV, a five-pound, ruggedized surveillance robot supported by the Wave Relay® MANET.

Persistent will provide the secure, long-range IP connectivity between Endeavor’s UGV and its uPoint® Multi-Robot Control System, supporting command and control, video, and the transmission of other critical sensor data. The FirstLook robot is often used to clear buildings and see into deep tunnels, crawl spaces, and other complex environments where the Wave Relay® MANET uses 3×3 MIMO technology to route data around those obstacles for increased throughput and maximized network performance.

“We appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with Endeavor Robotics and support the Marine Corps by providing a reliable network connection to their UGV platforms, allowing Marines to assess and neutralize dangerous situations from a safe distance,” said Herb Rubens, CEO of Persistent Systems. Persistent has previously supported the U.S. Marine Corps with communications and situational awareness exercises using the MPU5 radio and Wave Relay® MANET.

“Superior radio communications are key to FirstLook’s mission success,” said Sean Bielat, Endeavor Robotics CEO. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Persistent as we work together to build dependable robotic systems for the Marines.”

CANSEC 18 – Mawashi Participates In NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton on the Battlefield Project

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Last year we wrote about Mawashi’s UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton. Once again this year, they exhibited with Logistik Unicorp, and they offered us an update on their project.

Along with other exoskeleton manufacturers, they were invited to participate in the NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton on the Battlefield Project.

As part of this project, Mawashi’s UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton was trialed while worn under an EOD Suit during the second workshop held in the Quartier Maj Housiau Military Base in Peutie, Vilvoorde, Belgium on 6-8 March 2018.

This project is sponsored through NATO’s Defence against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT POW). The initial workshop held in Tren?ín, Slovakia, set the general framework to draft the Minimum Military Requirements (MMR) for Exoskeletons in support of EOD operators and highlighted the initial requirements and issues for their integration in EOD operations.

The aim of the second workshop was to investigate and prove how the Exoskeleton Technology currently available in the market may apply direct assistance to the EOD operations and how it can support and enhance the EOD team mobility, endurance, precision on target and increase the payload capacity. During the workshop, MMR were reviewed and two live trials were executed, when EOD teams conducted IEDD and CMD action using Exoskeleton Technologies.

This Successful Event ended at the NATO HQ, where the concept of the project as well as current achievements were presented during the meeting of National Armament Directors Representatives.

NATO’s Communications and Information (NCI) Agency produced this video.

Mawashi has conducted further NATO experimentation, including a Live Demonstration for the NATO Army Armaments Group (NAAG) Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems (LCGDSS), on the Marine Corps Load Effects Assessment Program (MC-LEAP) Obstacle Course. Details can be found at www.eodcoe.org/en/news/nova-web-stranka-2

Unmanned Technology: Breaching the Battlefield

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Soldiers, Marines, Department of Defense civilians, and troops from the United Kingdom observed and tested a series of unmanned, remote-controlled ground vehicles during a combined training event at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 2, 2018.

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A M58 Wolf is remotely controlled to release a cloud of smoke during a multinational joint equipment U.S. military training exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 2, 2018 in preparation for a Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration.

The training event was conducted in preparation for a larger demonstration of unmanned capabilities, called the Robotic Complex Breach Concept, scheduled for later this week.

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Ray Moldovan (left), a senior product management specialist with General Dynamics, explains to a group of U.S. Army Soldiers how to remotely control a M58 Wolf during a multinational joint equipment training exercise.

“Being able to take Soldiers out of harm’s way and accomplish the mission is very an attractive option to any commander,” said Curry. “It’s a capability that the enemy will not know how to counteract when we implement it. This type of technology enables us to stretch further while conserving resources,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jesse Curry, commander of the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

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An automated direct and indirect mortar system is operated from a distance by U.S. Soldiers during a multinational joint equipment training exercise with the U.S. military.

The military-vehicle mounted Automated Direct and Indirect Mortar, the M58 Wolf Smoke Generator, and the ‘Terrier’ armored digger were some of the existing technologies used throughout the exercise. All were outfitted with new technology that allows them to be remotely controlled.

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An automated direct and indirect mortar system is operated from a distance by U.S. Soldiers during a multinational joint equipment training exercise.

“This has been a great opportunity to show each other how to work on new systems, as well as each other’s systems,” said U.K. army Staff Sgt. Joe Ferries, a combat engineer with the U.K. 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade. “All the lessons learned here are going to have massive benefits for our armies and the next mission.”

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Mike Mackiewicz (right), demonstrates to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jesse Curry (left), the commander of the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, the capabilities of an automated direct and indirect mortar system.

Ferries, the U.K. soldier who supervised a portion of the training, said he believes this kind of training is a natural part of improving any military.

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A “Terrier” armored digger from the United Kingdom’s 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade is remotely controlled to secure an area.

“This training its quite relevant,” said Ferries. “We will always have to compare and improve our procedures and technologies.”

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U.K. army Staff Sgt. Joe Ferries, a combat engineer with the 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade, instructs a group of U.S. Soldiers, Marines, and Department of Defense civilians on how to remotely control a Terrier armored digger.

The U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, the 82nd BEB, and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, and the U.S. Marine Corp’s Engineer School were among some of the units observing the training. Each unit’s service members got a chance to test the equipment and provide feedback to developers.

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U.K. Lance Cpl. Tom Alexander (center), a combat engineer with the U.K. 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade, shows U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jesse Curry (left) and Capt. Nick Hyde, both with the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, how to remotely operate a Terrier armored digger.

The Robotic Complex Breach Concept exercise will further test the capabilities of the new equipment, which is designed to enhance existing intelligence, suppression, obscuration, and reduction capabilities for breach operations.

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A “Terrier” armored digger from the United Kingdom’s 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade, is remotely controlled during a multinational joint equipment training exercise with the U.S. military.

“This was testing of genuine and unique technology, partnered with cutting-edge development to address a complicated problem,” said Curry, who has served in the military for over 20 years. “Our potential enemy’s goal is to counteract what we have in our inventory, so we need to incorporate additional technology to enable our Soldiers to be successful in their jobs.”

Story and photos by SPC Hubert Delany
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Army Researchers Advance ‘Third Arm’ Project to Next Testing Phase

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers may be asked to carry heavier, more lethal weapons in the near future, but they soon might have a “third arm” to improve their accuracy and reduce fatigue.

Using a mechanical apparatus that resembles something out of a sci-fi movie, the lightweight device will help redistribute some of the burden Soldiers carry in their arms and shoulders to their abdomen. Engineers at the Army Research Lab here have been developing a mechanical “third arm” that attaches to a user’s back hip.

Army Research Lab engineer Dan Baechle demonstrates how to strap on the “Third Arm,” a mechanical device designed to improve Soldiers’ accuracy and reduce fatigue. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Joe Lacdan)

The project, unveiled last year at a conference, is scheduled to be tested again sometime this spring with a minimum of 15 Soldiers.

“Right now we have a prototype that’s essentially a research platform that we’re using to investigate different types of materials — how materials and structures can stabilize a weapon or a shield, reduce fatigue on the Soldiers’ arms, but also improve accuracy,” said mechanical engineer Dan Baechle.

The project is currently on its second prototype model with improvements based on Soldier feedback. Some of the improvements include an extendable hinge plate so that a single plate can fit Soldiers of different sizes and body types. Baechle said further research must be completed before the device can be fielded. The current prototype at 3.5 pounds can now support weapons such as the M249 light machine gun that weighs about 27 pounds.

The project not only helps stabilize weapons, but can aid Soldiers for defensive purposes while carrying 20-pound shields. The project team developed a custom mount that connects from the arm to the shield so Soldiers can use the Third Arm to help alleviate muscle fatigue.

The “Third Arm” project is being developed not only for weapons but for defensive purposes. Army researchers at Aberdeen Proving Ground created a special mount to attach the apparatus to a shield and also provide stability and balance. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Joe Lacdan)

Concept development began in late 2015 when ARL engineers brainstormed ideas on how to make a dismounted Soldier more lethal. Engineers began building the first prototypes in 2016. The focus of the project centered on providing stability for dismounted Soldier. ARL engineers are examining different types of spring materials to further balance the weapon against gravity. Baechle said they used a carbon fiber material in the current prototype because of its light weight and density.

“We started out with just trying to think of a way to help improve the lethality for the dismounted Soldier,” Baechle said. “Generally that means stabilizing the weapon or giving the Soldier a more powerful weapon. Can we stabilize that weapon to improve accuracy? But also if we’re stabilizing the weapon and taking the load off of the Soldiers’ arms, does that improve the Soldier’s readiness? Does it also improve the Soldier’s accuracy with the weapon?”

Last summer, six Soldiers volunteered to take part in a pilot study, where researchers placed electromyography sensors to measure muscle activity. In particular, when holding a weapon or shield for extended periods of time, the arm begins to shake, impacting shooter accuracy. The six-person research team tested Soldiers firing weapons with and without the apparatus.

“We found that it reduced the fatigue and reduced the muscle activation for some Soldiers,” Baechle said, explaining that data is being used to motivate a larger trial this year with more Soldiers. This year he also plans to get more feedback on what Soldiers think about the device and what should be changed.

Last year researchers collected data on how much muscles were firing with the use of the third arm compared to without it.

“There are studies showing that, if you hold a weight out at arm’s length, eventually your arm starts shaking,” Baechle said. “And that shaking is going to reduce your accuracy with the weapon … and if you’re holding a shield, it’s going to reduce the amount of time that you can hold that shield. So we’re taking that weight of the weapon or the shield off of the arms and transferring it back to the torso.”

While the test yielded positive results, Baechle said some of the Soldiers had problems with the device. Improvements made this year include changing the mounting location from the front of the Soldier’s vest to the back.

Researchers hope to further improve the device to make it more comfortable and reduce fatigue even more. They are continually attempting to make adjustments to the device to boost a shooter’s accuracy.

Baechle demonstrated how ARL researchers use a motion capture system, using monitors and infra-red targeting to track a Soldier’s weapon and target.

“We use this system to evaluate both how subjects or Soldiers move the weapon and with and without the third arm,” Baechle said. “But also how the arm improves the accuracy or changes the aim point while they’re using the weapon.”

Finally researchers hope the project can reduce some of the recoil force after firing a weapon.

“You have a lighter weight weapon but potentially a higher caliber weapon which normally would increase the recoil on your shoulder,” Baechle said. “Could you use Third Arm and some clever materials on the arm to redirect that recoil back toward the body and thus allow the Soldier to wield a higher energy weapon without necessarily burdening the Soldier more?”

By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service