US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program aims to improve mobility, survivability, safety and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling excessive armor.
Several Phase 2 contract awardees recently demonstrated advances on a variety of technologies to meet the program’s goals, the agency said in a statement Friday.
“We’re looking at how to enhance survivability by buttoning up the cockpit and augmenting the crew through driver-assistance aids,” said Maj. Amber Walker, the program manager for GXV-T in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “For mobility, we’ve taken a radically different approach by avoiding armor and developing options to move quickly and be agile over all terrain.”
GXV-T envisions future combat vehicles that could traverse up to 95 percent of off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations. Capabilities include wheel-to-track and suspension technologies that would enable access and faster travel both on- and off-road, compared to existing ground vehicles.
Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) Wheels permit fast travel on hard surfaces while tracks perform better on soft surfaces. A team from Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center (CMU NREC) demonstrated shape-shifting wheel-track mechanisms that transition from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move, for instant improvements to tactical mobility and maneuverability on diverse terrains.
Electric In-hub Motor Putting motors directly inside the wheels offers numerous potential benefits for combat vehicles, such as heightened acceleration and maneuverability with optimal torque, traction, power, and speed over rough or smooth terrain.
In an earlier demonstration, QinetiQ demonstrated a unique approach, incorporating three gear stages and a complex thermal management design into a system small enough to fit a standard military 20-inch rim.
Multi-mode Extreme Travel Suspension (METS) Pratt & Miller’s METS system aims to enable high-speed travel over rough terrain while keeping the vehicle upright and minimizing occupant discomfort. The vehicle demonstrator incorporates standard military 20-inch wheels, advanced short-travel suspension of four-to-six inches, and a novel high-travel suspension that extends up to six feet – 42 inches upward and 30 inches downward. The demonstration in May showed off its ability to tackle steep slopes and grades by actively and independently adjusting the hydraulic suspension on each wheel of the vehicle.
Crew Augmentation Traditional combat vehicle designs have small windows that improve protection, but limit visibility. GXV-T sought solutions with multiple onboard sensors and technologies to provide high-resolution, 360-degree situational awareness while keeping the vehicle enclosed.
Enhanced 360-degree Awareness with Virtual Windows Honeywell International demonstrated its windowless cockpit in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with an opaque canopy. The 3-D near-to-eye goggles, optical head-tracker and wrap-around Active Window Display screens provide real-time, high-resolution views outside the vehicle. In off-road courses, drivers have completed numerous tests using the system in roughly the same time as drivers in All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) with full visibility.
Virtual Perspectives Augmenting Natural Experience (V-PANE) A tactical vehicle offers limited visibility and data for decision-making, especially when moving rapidly through unfamiliar territory. Raytheon BBN Technologies’ V-PANE technology demonstrator fuses data from multiple vehicle-mounted video and LIDAR cameras to create a real-time 3-D model of the vehicle and its nearby surroundings.
In a final Phase 2 demonstration, drivers and commanders in a windowless recreational vehicle successfully switched among multiple virtual perspectives to accurately maneuver the vehicle and detect targets of interest during both low- and high-speed travel.
Off-Road Crew Augmentation (ORCA) A second CMU NREC technology demonstration, ORCA aims to predict in real time the safest and fastest route and when necessary, enable a vehicle to drive itself off-road – even around obstacles. In Phase 2 testing, drivers using the ORCA aids and visual overlays traveled faster between waypoints and eliminated nearly all pauses to determine their routes. The team found autonomy improved either vehicle speed or risk posture, and sometimes both.
Walker said GXV-T performers are pursuing a variety of transition paths for the new technologies.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been selected to participate in Phase 3 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Gremlins program as part of the Dynetics-led team. The Gremlins program will develop the capability to launch groups of reusable Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) from manned aircraft while out of range of adversary defenses, enhancing the operational flexibility, safety and effectiveness of U
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through the U.S
Dynetics has been awarded $32 million contract for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencys (DARPA) Phase III of the Gremlins program. This contract provides for the research, development, and demonstration of safe and reliable aerial launch and recovery of multiple unmanned air vehicles, with traceability to an objective system capable of employing and recovering diverse distributed payloads in volley quantities
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected BAE Systems to develop data-driven, cyber-hunting tools that detect and analyze cyber threats to help protect extremely large enterprise networks. The contract for Phase 1, 2, and 3 of the program is valued at approximately $5
The United States' Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently completed Phase 2 flight tests of its Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program demonstrating advanced algorithms performing real-world tasks without human assistance. FLA performs tasks dangerous for humans – such as pre-mission reconnaissance in a hostile urban setting or searching damaged structures for survivors following an earthquake, DARPA said in a statement Wednesday
Lockheed Martin and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently performed a series of flight tests demonstrating how a system of systems (SoS) approach enables seamless – and rapid – integration across air, space, land, sea and cyber in contested environments. The demonstrations held at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, were part of a five year DARPA program called System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE)
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