Supervised autonomy for unmanned ground vehicles


August 31, 2006

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September 1, 2006 Lockheed Martin yesterday pulled the wraps off its new Squad Mission Support System (SMSS), leveraging robotic technologies for future robotic weapons systems. The SMSS will decrease the amount of time a warfighter has to spend in controlling robotic systems by providing vehicles with a greater perception of their surroundings on the battlefield. Combining perception with extraordinary mobility will allow vehicles to follow a soldier across any terrain, guaranteeing the payload the robotic system is carrying will be available whenever and wherever it is required. It is envisaged the SMSS will provide manned and unmanned transport and logistical support to Light and Early Entry Forces.

"Innovation and hard work have brought to life the SMSS," said Gene Holleque, director - Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This system will fill a present need for the Army's combat operations."

This robotics program, funded by Lockheed Martin as an independent research and development project, will provide manned and unmanned transport and logistical support to the Light and Early Entry Forces. The SMSS' supervised autonomy will provide the warfighter with a reliable squad-size vehicle which will improve combat readiness, while assuring re-supply channels and casualty evacuations.

"Our long-term vision of this system can accommodate armed variants, while improving its reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition (RISTA) capabilities within the concept of supervised autonomy," Holleque added. "A squad-size manned or unmanned support vehicle just makes sense in today's asymmetrical and urban battlefields."

Lockheed Martin's integrated systems-of-systems approach is designed to meet the challenges of network-centric warfare where both manned and unmanned technologies work collaboratively, increasing the affordability of the technology, the efficiency of the total force and ultimately, the success of their missions.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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