28 Oktober 2010

Singapore To Blaze RoboTruck Trail

28 Oktober 2010

Lidar sensors are on front corners of roof; radar and lidar centrally mounted in the bumper. (photo : Aviation Week)

Singapore is expected to issue a request for proposals next year for new logistics vehicles — and, for the first time, wants the new trucks to be ready for adaptation to unmanned operation.

“It’s the first time we have seen that in an official bid document,” says Ron Ziebell, vice president for international programs at Oshkosh Defense.

Oshkosh is likely to pitch a version of the U.S. Army Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck, which it is building for the service under a five-year, 23,000-vehicle contract. (The first Oshkosh-built FMTVs are being tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and full-rate production is due to be underway next summer.)

Light Combat Tactical Vehicle/LCTV (photo : Aviation Week)

On show at the Association of the U.S. Army symposium in Washington is an FMTV equipped with the latest version of the company’s TerraMax autonomous guidance system. While the guidance system itself is still under development, the changes to the truck that allow it to be operated robotically are mature. They include steer-by-wire, with no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the drivetrain (the steering wheel itself is back-driven) and full electronic control for the engine, brakes and transmission.

The unmanned control suite itself includes two spinning lidar sensors on the cabin roof, and forward-looking lidar and radar in the front bumper, together with GPS and a digitial terrain system. The lidar can compare the sensed terrain image with the terrain database to cross-check the vehicle's position.

Also new from Oshkosh is the all-black Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV) demonstrator, a fast, four-seater diesel-electric vehicle built to show off new technologies. It is a no-chassis design with automotive subframes attached to a unibody armored pod supplied by Plasan. Its 400-hp engine is linked to a 250-kw. generator that drives two rear-mounted electric propulsion motors.

(Aviation Week)

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