Oshkosh demonstrates TerraMax autonomous vehicle system
By Paul Lester
September 3, 2009
The ability of military vehicles to better protect occupants with modern designs and high-tech materials has become an increasing priority and UK firm Amsafe has already seen success with its Tarian armor plating in the U.S. Oshkosh Defense, part of the U.S. Marine Corp’s MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected) program, is also heavily involved and a recently announced armor system took an alternative approach with an emphasis on mobility. Development of its new TerraMax vehicles seems almost flawless in its potential, however, at least in protecting the lives of the soldiers on board because, put simply, there aren’t any.
TerraMax, the latest in unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), was recently demonstrated by the Wisconsin-based company, a leading contributor to autonomous vehicle technology, at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Fort Hood III Corps Robotics Rodeo in Texas. Two unique demonstrations illustrated current capabilities in robotic logistics convoy operations, advanced perception technology and human-assisted change detection by incorporating the latest in advanced robotic hardware and software.
As well as computer-controlled steering, acceleration, braking and transmission, a new laser scanner offers enhanced sensing abilities and 360° obstacle detection, as well as the ability to reduce the visual signature of the vehicle’s sensors so that it can better blend in with military fleets.
Oshkosh is currently working on improving occupants’ situational awareness by creating an immersive 3D display to render imagery from previously driven routes and combining it with real-time data to improve response times and aerial imagery.