Unmanned vehicle leads the way in a route clearance mission. (Photo: Oshkosh Defense)
OSHKOSH, Wis., May 13 (UPI) -- The use of unmanned ground vehicles in clearing roads of improvised explosive devices is being demonstrated this week by Oshkosh Defense.
The company, which makes Mine Resistant Ambush Protected all-terrain vehicles for the U.S. military, is showcasing integration of its TerraMax technology onto an MRAP at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems 2014 exhibition Florida.
TerraMax is a modular appliqué kit that enables unmanned ground vehicles to collaborate with manned vehicles. It can incorporate counter-IED payloads -- such as ground-penetrating radar and mine rollers. The system's operator control unit uses a non-proprietary, open architecture messaging standard to enable modularity and integration of new sub-systems.
The system's safety features include electronic stability control, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and electric power-assisted steering, which the company is transitioning for use in manned vehicles as well.
"The clearance of threats like IEDs, mines and unexploded munitions pose challenges that global military forces have faced since World War II, and are expected to continue long after Afghanistan," said John Urias, president of Oshkosh Defense.
"Our TerraMax UGV technology can bring autonomous capabilities to existing manned vehicle platforms, like the M-ATV, to remove troops from targeted routes and provide greater standoff distance from explosive threats," Urias added. "It also has force-multiplication benefits with one operator controlling several vehicles, so logistics operations can be successfully completed with fewer troops."
Oshkosh said the use of TerraMax in route clearance vehicles expands its effort with the U.S. Office of Naval Research to bring UGV capabilities to logistics vehicles.