Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center Unveils Futuristic Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles

Date:
April 28, 2006
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute is unveiling a unique unmanned ground vehicle that offers new strength, mobility and autonomy features for the Army's effort to keep its troops out of harm's way.

The 6.5-ton "Crusher" can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute is unveiling a unique unmanned ground vehicle that offers new strength, mobility and autonomy features for the Army's effort to keep its troops out of harm's way.

Related Articles


The 6.5-ton "Crusher" combines the strength and mobility of a predecessor known as Spinner with NREC-developed autonomy capabilities to create an extremely robust, unmanned vehicle that can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain. The project is known by the acronym UPI, which stands for Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) PerceptOR Integration.

The UPI project, which includes extensive autonomy development, payload integration and field-testing, is funded by the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at an expenditure of $35 million to date. Experts say UPI incorporates technologies six to 10 years ahead of its time and provides an unprecedented glimpse into the future capabilities of unmanned military vehicles. The technologies developed for Crusher also have potential for commercial use in areas like construction, farming and mining.

Since Crusher and its predecessor do not have to accommodate human crews, their novel designs offer unequaled ruggedness, mobility and payload-carrying capacity compared to manned vehicles in their weight class. Crusher's hull is made from high-strength aluminum tubes and titanium nodes protected by a steel skid plate that can absorb shocks from impacts with rocks or tree stumps. Its unique suspension enables it to move smoothly over extremely rough terrain and overcome obstacles like large ditches, man-made barriers or piles of boulders. It can carry more than 8,000 lbs. of payload and armor. Electric motors embedded in each of the vehicle's six wheels are powered with a hybrid system that uses a turbo diesel generator to recharge its batteries. Its top speed is currently 26 miles per hour.

NREC researchers have been working with several subcontractors to develop Crusher's special attributes. Among them are Timony Technology of Meath, Ireland, which developed the suspension; Pennsylvania-based CTC Technologies, which designed the hull; and SAFT America Battery Co, which built Crusher's lithium ion battery.

"We're developing Crusher to provide technology insights to the broader Army community-to show people what can be done and pave the way for the future," said John Bares, director of the National Robotics Engineering Center and UPI principal investigator. "Although it's not being designed for production, Crusher could be matured further to withstand the rigors of military fielding."

Bares predicts that vehicles like Crusher will first be used in convoy or support roles, then tactical roles.

"In five to 10 years, we should see robots working alongside our troops to protect them and help with tasks in the field," he said.

"The Crusher vehicle is a natural outgrowth of more than 26 years of field robotics research conducted at the Robotics Institute," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science.

"Crusher demonstrates how advanced vehicle and navigation technology, developed in a university research environment, can be refined into high-quality engineering prototypes. This technology will find many applications where reliable transportation must be provided in difficult or dangerous environments."

Crusher will undergo extensive field tests under the purview of the Army and DARPA every quarter for the next two years. Much of the emphasis will be on increasing its autonomy capabilities. It's expected that the Crusher platform will influence unmanned vehicle design efforts funded by the Army's Future Combat System.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center Unveils Futuristic Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428141242.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2006, April 28). Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center Unveils Futuristic Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428141242.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center Unveils Futuristic Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428141242.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins