Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC) has been awarded a $2.3 million Phase II contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to continue development of the US Marines’ Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV).
The NREC-led Team Excalibur was awarded the Phase I contract in June 2002 during which it completed preliminary design and analysis of a highly mobile vehicle suitable for a variety of expeditionary missions conducted by the Marines.
In the 14-month Phase II program, NREC researchers will continue to lead Team Excalibur, which includes Boeing; Timoney Technology Ltd, Ireland; Tadiran Electronic Systems, Israel and UQM Technologies, Frederick, Colorado.
They will complete the design of the vehicle, assemble a prototype and conduct operational demonstrations early in 2004. Initial fielding of TUGV is expected in 2006.
The TUGV is being designed to be a robust, easy-to-transport, unmanned, semi-autonomous, multi-purpose ground vehicle system capable of scouting and engagement with an enemy. It will provide the Marines with remote reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance capabilities.
The NREC will develop the vehicle’s core robotic capabilities and lead the integration and field validation of the prototype TUGV. Boeing will build the composite hull and payload and provide life cycle analysis expertise. Timoney will design and build the vehicle suspension.
Tadiran will develop the Operator Control Unit (OCU) and communications systems. UQM Technologies will lead vehicle propulsion and drive train development.
Dimitrios Apostolopolous, Carnegie Mellon systems scientist and Excalibur project manager said, ‘We believe that our high-mobility vehicle platform, state-of-the-art OCU and flexible payload capability will convincingly address the needs of the TUGV program. Team Excalibur is poised to deliver a complete system solution to the Marines.’
The TUGV program is the second unmanned vehicle design-and-build effort led by the NREC.
The other, being developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is Spinner, a six-ton, highly durable, invertible 6WD vehicle, suitable for unmanned, armed reconnaissance missions integral to the US Army’s Future Combat System.