Author Topic: Stryker: Robot style  (Read 9873 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gunnar

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 2,470
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 659
  • Civilian
    • http://www.ealdormere.sca.org
Stryker: Robot style
« on: January 30, 2004, 19:18:00 »
Check this out:   

 http://radio.weblogs.com/0105910/2004/01/30.html

I like the picture.   Makes me think of the Terminator War of the Machines.   Wonder if ours will be interoperable?


More Robots for the Army
The Stryker is an 18-ton infantry vehicle, already deployed by the U.S. army in places such as Iraq. Right now, it has human drivers. But that will no longer be the case by 2010, when it will be driven by a robot, tells us the Washington Post in "Stryker, Army's Robot for No Man's Land" (fast and free registration for first-time visitors).

The Stryker, one of the U.S. Army's newest infantry vehicles, is fitted with a "ladar" scanner, the equivalent of a mounted pair of eyes that see by emitting 400,000 laser and radar beams and snap 120 camera images every second. Its brain -- a 40-pound computer system tucked inside its body -- processes that data, and makes instant judgments on how to act and where to go.
The eight-wheeled Stryker has already seen service in Iraq as an armored troop carrier with human drivers. The idea is to teach Stryker to accomplish a mission on its own, as a robot. By 2010, robotic Strykers and similar contrivances are slated to be in use as all-purpose battlefield vehicles, surveying battlegrounds, sniffing for land mines, or transporting supplies and troops to the front line.


These robots are developed by General Dynamics Robotic Systems, Inc. (GDRSI), which received $185 million last November to build between 30 and 60 automated-navigation prototypes to be used in all kinds of military vehicles.

And this money just represents a small tip of a very large iceberg.

Creating automated navigation systems for combat vehicles is part of the Future Combat System project to remake warfare. The Army plans to spend $14.78 billion on a new combat system over the next six years, of which autonomous navigation systems is one part, according to Maj. Gary Tallman, public affairs officer for the Army.
Still, these robots are not very smart and have a lot to learn, according to the manufacturer.

"Now, we have the basic functioning down, and we're trying to make it smarter at something, or better," said Chip DiBerardino, a senior engineer for General Dynamics who works on programming higher intellect into software.
One recent morning, DiBerardino tested a four-wheeled robot called MDARS (short for Mobile Detection Assessment and Response System), a robotic watchdog that patrols the Westminster lab's snow-covered backyard looking for "intruders." It drives several feet, eyes a parking sign and halts, apparently puzzled, until a human attendant reprograms MDARS to move 
 

 
 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2004, 18:17:16 by Bruce Monkhouse »
If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism --Thomas Sowell

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 195,570
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,732
  • Freespeecher
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2004, 09:27:10 »
DARPA sponsored a contest where teams were to create robot vehicles (based on any chassis the team desired) to drive unassisted from California to Nevada, a distance of 210 miles. I don't think ANY of the participants got more than 10 miles before the vehicles were terminally confused and could not go any further. This technology has a very long way to go before we can consider using it.

The best use for a "first generation" system would be a "co driver" which could follow the lead vehicle in a convoy for administrative road moves, allowing most of the drivers some time to sleep.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2004, 12:43:05 »
I'm with you on this one a_majoor.  I can't see a robo-driver.  I could see a multi-spectral sensing system, designed to pick up things that bone-tired drivers and CCs don't or can't see.  An automatic stop and/or an audio-visual alarm or automatic deployment of non-lethal defence aids (smoke, chaff, lasers, ECMs) could all be good.  Manual over-ride of auto systems will always be a good thing.  Vehicle stopping to decide what to do about mines while enemy engages ambush with RPGs might not result in the best tactical situation for the 8 guys in the back.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline 48Highlander

  • Banned
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • -165
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,400
    • Applied Ballistics
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2004, 12:57:38 »
I'm with you on this one a_majoor. I can't see a robo-driver. I could see a multi-spectral sensing system, designed to pick up things that bone-tired drivers and CCs don't or can't see. An automatic stop and/or an audio-visual alarm or automatic deployment of non-lethal defence aids (smoke, chaff, lasers, ECMs) could all be good. Manual over-ride of auto systems will always be a good thing. Vehicle stopping to decide what to do about mines while enemy engages ambush with RPGs might not result in the best tactical situation for the 8 guys in the back.

A Stryker wouldn't be carying 8 guys in the back, now would it.  If these vehicles COULD be automated though, and also built with a remote-control option to allow operators in other vehicles to take over when neccesary, then the strykers wouldn't need a crew, which would save lives, increase the ammount of ammo they can carry, and allow them to be built with much more armour, making them close to indestructable.


DARPA sponsored a contest where teams were to create robot vehicles (based on any chassis the team desired) to drive unassisted from California to Nevada, a distance of 210 miles. I don't think ANY of the participants got more than 10 miles before the vehicles were terminally confused and could not go any further. This technology has a very long way to go before we can consider using it.
The best use for a "first generation" system would be a "co driver" which could follow the lead vehicle in a convoy for administrative road moves, allowing most of the drivers some time to sleep.

"Creating automated navigation systems for combat vehicles is part of the Future Combat System project to remake warfare. The Army plans to spend $14.78 billion on a new combat system over the next six years, of which autonomous navigation systems is one part, according to Maj. Gary Tallman, public affairs officer for the Army."

You'd be surprised what kind of innovation $15 billion can buy  :P  Somehow I don't think the DARPA project spent even $15 million.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2004, 18:49:37 »
Quote
A Stryker wouldn't be carying 8 guys in the back, now would it.  If these vehicles COULD be automated though, and also built with a remote-control option to allow operators in other vehicles to take over when neccesary, then the strykers wouldn't need a crew, which would save lives, increase the ammount of ammo they can carry, and allow them to be built with much more armour, making them close to indestructable.

I'm a bit confused.  The Stryker already carries 8 Guys in the back in the ISC and Eng versions.

Now if you are talking about the MGS variant of the Stryker that we are talking about for a Direct Fire Support Vehicle then I have to admit .... that does present some interesting thoughts.

Any comments Franko and Lance? How would you feel about riding around in the back of an APC directing 2 or 3 MGS (POS) remotely?

Cheers.


"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline 48Highlander

  • Banned
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • -165
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,400
    • Applied Ballistics
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2004, 21:12:57 »
Sorry for the confusion.  The first time I heard the term "Stryker" was when I read it in the Maple Leaf, and at the time they were using it to mean the MGS variant.  So now whenever I hear "Stryker" I automatically think of a LAV3 with a 105mm.  The eng and ISC versions are really just variants of a LAV3 aren't they?  I have to admit I'm a bit confused on that issue.  But anyway, no, I agree there'd be very little point to having any kind of automated driver in those variants.  Since they're meant to carry soldiers, you'd be placing their lives in more danger with no benefit.  An automated weapons platform though....especially if in addition to having it drive itself they could also develop an automated targeting program with the gunners in remote vehicles only providing confirmation on targets....that'd be something worth looking into eh?

Yes I know it's not exactly what this project is geared towards producing.  Right now they're just focusing on developing vehicles which can drive themselves.  That's fine, that's what scientists and engineers do; they create new technologies and improve existing ones.  Once that technology is at a level which is acceptable to the miltary, then it becomes the job of the soldiers to figure out how best to use it.

Offline Big Foot

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 225
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 761
  • Muda, mura, and muri everywhere I look...
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2004, 21:47:03 »
Damn, the Stryker is looking more and more kickin'  :skull: :cdn: :skull:
It's not insubordinate if you know exactly where the line is and walk on it but never cross it.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2004, 15:18:22 »
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,65885,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

More on robots.

The US are deploying armed versions of the little 6x6 bomb disposal crawlers to back up their Stryker equipped infantry units.  Also talking about robot ambulances.

http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/English/6_1_1.asp?id=318

http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/English/6_5.asp?Offset=3&sKeywords=&sConjuction=&sRadioButton=&sFromDate=&sToDate=
Scientists work on new generation of armoured vehicles
VALCARTIER, Quebec - A group of scientists is working on what may become a new generation of Light Armoured Vehicles. (Video Story)
Friday, October 29, 2004

And these links to related work being done by DRES on the LAVs
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 195,570
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,732
  • Freespeecher
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2004, 16:03:21 »
You should fwd these links to the LAV and MMEV threads as well.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2004, 16:20:51 »
Good Point Maj.

Consider it done.

Cheers.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2005, 12:23:11 »
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4102201

This is just an update.  I was scanning channels last night and crossed the Discovery Channel.  The image was of two Strykers moving in file cross country at about 30 km/h. This was followed by the Strykers moving down a road at about the same speed.  Further images of the Stryker launching a Javelin from a Remotely Operated Weapons System (mounted along with an HMG) and taking out a tank.

The Strykers had no drivers.  They apparently had no operators either. They were functioning completely autonomously. 

The system was designed and integrated by the people that put together the little Talon/Sword robots used by EOD squads and modified to carry weapons - an outfit called TARDEC.

The really curious point was that I thought I heard them say they anticipated fielding unmanned Strykers in Iraq for convoy duty within the next 18 months or so.

Fascinating and revolutionary as this is, and while I don't mind the idea of robot vehicles in a convoy taking point or just "heads down, tail up" following the vehicle in front - I think I draw the line at robots making shoot to kill decisions.  Presumably human operators would be associated with these convoys as well, either in the convoy or overhead and communicating....  regardless the world is becoming a fascinating place REEEAlly fast.

By the way the linked article contains the world's dumbest statement indicating the utterer just doesn't get the nature of the problem.  Quote: "Well before the end of the century, there will be no people on the battlefield," said Robert Finkelstein, a professor at the University of Maryland's School of Management and Technology.

Cheers.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2005, 14:31:04 »
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/follower.htm

Robotic Follower

Quote
The goal is to demonstrate an enhanced follower with the capability to maneuver on primary roads with a top speed of between 80kph and 100kph and off-road at speeds of up to 65kph.[/size][/b] The range of potential vehicle separation will increase to between 5m and 10km. Increased focus upon vehicle intelligence and software reliability.

The program is focused on a series of demonstrations that will successively increase the follower performance and improve the maturity of the software algorithms, soldier-machine interface, and sensor technology for transition to the FCS program. The first live RF experiment in 2Q FY03 will employ the Demo III+ XUV systems as well as the selected final platform, which is the infantry carrier that is a variant of the Interim Armor Vehicle (IAV) based on the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV III). Two mission scenarios will be demonstrated: (1) convoying, which is defined by on-road, high speed, line-of-sight following in order to address the supply platoon mission, and (2) robotic MULE, which is defined by all terrain, low speed following of a dismounted soldier. These two vignettes will demonstrate RF capability at a TRL 6. The second live experiment will take place in the FY05-FY06 timeframe and will demonstrate and evaluate high-speed, all terrain following with significant spatial and temporal separations. A virtual development environment will be developed to enable algorithm tests and development, and to conduct modeling and simulation experiments focused on determining technology performance in varying terrain databases.

Partnered with other Department of Defense researchers, engineers from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), developed and demonstrated a totally remote controlled (not actually robotic) Light Armored Vehicle (LAV II) capable of launching both an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and a fire-and-forget missile on the move. This remarkable feat, six months in the making, successfully illustrated that it is possible to field unmanned vehicles that are capable of performing multiple tasks for the Future Combat System. The success was a direct result of the Objective Force Test Bed Team-a coalition of engineers from TARDEC, AMRDEC and DARPA. The team's simple challenge was "to totally remote" a Future Combat System type vehicle that would be capable of launching a fire-and-forget missile while the vehicle was moving.

The LAV II remote control kit was designed and built completely in house by TARDEC's E/RMC team in only three months. Capable of being installed in less than three hours and with no permanent vehicle modifications, the kit consists of a receiver interface, a transmitter interface, actuators and two specialized radios. The testing, done at Eglin Airforce Base, was so successful that seven UAV launches were completed. Beaming from the positive UAV results the team then fired a Javelin anti-tank missile from a new state-of-the-art tele-operated turret on the moving LAV. Success was again achieved, with the perfectly aimed Javelin killing its target 1800 meters away.




Now about those manpower restrictions on Transport. 
 
Only question left.  How do infanteers feel about riding in vehicles with NO drivers?  ;D

Cheers
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2005, 15:04:03 »
http://tardec.army.mil/news007.htm

Here's another one.

I seem to recally suggesting mounting a Talon or two on the back of a LAV pickup.  It seems it is already being done.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

BITTER PPLCI CPL

  • Guest
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2005, 09:57:46 »
I know this is waaaayyyy off, but has anyone seen the different types of potential replacements for the artillery SP guns? One of them is a LAV another looks like an HL type with a 105 mounted, anyways check out sfu.ca/casr if you have time.

Offline Lance Wiebe

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 5,255
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 925
  • Retired WO
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2005, 07:48:08 »
Way back when, I was involved in a project that studied remote operated vehicles, with the emphasis being placed on tanks, AD and mine clearing vehicles.  The bottom line is that it was, and is, technically capable of being done.  Tanks could roll into positions, and remain under cover, using GPS technology.  Sensors would automatically detect and track and potential targets, and when within range, fire.  It all worked, with no glitches at all.

The problems arise when the vehicles are operated remotely, rather than autonomously.  The bandwidth required is too much to even field a squadron of tanks and a bty of AD.  So, why not operate them autonomously, and save all of the bandwidth?  Our problem was removing the "man in the loop".  The guy that gives the order to fire.  IFF is far from perfect, and the possibility exists for a lot of "blue on blue" incidents.

But, the technology existed, even 6 years ago.
"It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who served beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag." - Charles M. Province

Offline Spr.Earl

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 235
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,719
  • Grizzled Old Veteran
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2005, 08:44:43 »
On Discovery Cahannel last night,many probs. yet too over come.
It was neat watching the 3 Lav III's moving but saw no contact fire from the ROBOTS. ;D
THE PRECEDING POST AND OTHERS MADE BY MYSELF ARE MY PERSONAL VIEWS, NOT FOR REPRODUCTION, NOT FOR CUT AND PASTE OF ANY PORTION THEREOF, NO QUOTES ARE PERMITTED ELSEWHERE,ANYWHERE OTHER THAN EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WEB FORUM.




UBIQUE
Be Safe

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2005, 15:11:21 »
 No "I,Robot" scenarios please. ;D    Must have the man in the loop.   Although when you think about the navy they have confronted this problem already haven't they?  Aren't their Phalanx and Anti-Air defences are "pre-authorised" to fire in most circumstances?  Not so much "target, fire" as "if appropriate target, fire".  Of course they don't have as many targets and inappropriate targets at sea as the  Army is likely to encounter and even as it is they have been known to get it wrong, especially in congested coastal areas.

Reckon it'll be a while before we see marauding squadrons of robot tanks - hopefully.

On the other hand wouldn't convoy escort be easier if all the vehicles in the convoy played follow the leader, maintained speed and distance and instantly responded to orders?  A crewed LAV with turret front and rear, perhaps a UAV launching LAV in command and a packet or two of unmanned LAVs rolling along in between.

And Sapper, how'd you feel about trading in your Dareod for the remote controlled or autonomous version, a laptop and joystick and a coffee pot? ;)
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline DetectiveMcNulty

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 58,450
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,487
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2005, 00:28:17 »
Why not just have a command vehicle somewhere in the formation, with the rear compartment filled with people looking at screens controlling the other vehicles...

It would really help with recruiting...but they may have to change the CFAT. To qualify for remote driver, one would have to demonstrate thier abilities playing grand theft auto...

 :dontpanic:

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2005, 11:06:45 »
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 206,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,680
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: Stryker: Robot style
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2006, 10:50:22 »
An update on the Stryker (Robotic Follower) programme.

It seems they have got convoy speed up to 40 km/h on the straights.  Progress but room for improvement.

Quote
Army Testing Unmanned Stryker Convoys
 
 
(Source: US Army; issued Feb. 21, 2006)
 
 
 FORT GORDON, Ga. --- Engineers conducting show-and-tell with a 20-ton robot on the last day of two weeks of trials on Fort Gordon were cautiously optimistic. 
 
Karl Murphy, a software engineer from Robotic Research, said there was a new principle of “Murphy’s Law” at work on the test field Feb. 10. 
 
"One of my professors reminded us that we have 'sight-ons' present whenever an experiment is being viewed,” Murphy said. “The more 'sight-ons' you have, the greater is the potential for something to go wrong." 
 
Tongue in cheek, he continued explaining that sight-on fields increase with the rank and reach of individuals viewing a test. With national, regional and local media rolling cameras, the “sight-on” field was very high that Friday. 
 
The demonstration at Fort Gordon was a part of a much larger program of tests being conducted by the Robotics Technology Integration Team from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research and Development Engineer Center, General Dynamics Corporation and its sub-contractors. 
 
Jeff Jaczkowski, TARDEC electrical engineer and manager for this Robotic Follower Advanced Technology Demonstrator project, explained what the testing was about and why Fort Gordon was chosen. 
 
Pointing to the two Stryker Infantry Carrier vehicles idling behind him at their base camp on Range 37, Jaczkowski said these vehicles are part of a larger program set to bring vehicle electronics-vetronics technology integration and robotic systems to the force. 
 
The system in testing at Fort Gordon is the robotic follower program. This program seeks to develop robots that can conduct convoy operations. One of the vehicles is called the CAT - short for crew integration and automation test bed. It serves as the manned leader vehicle. The other vehicle serves as an unmanned follower in a convoy. 
 
"We have done a circuit of testing that started in 2003,” Jaczkowski said. “We have done a number of different environments, including Fort Bliss, Texas, that has a primarily sand/desert environment. We did Fort Knox, Ky., where there is more cross-country terrain. There was Fort Indiantown Gap and Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania. 
 
"We are down here at Fort Gordon for the environment in the forested-type setting. We are focusing on road and long-haul convoy missions." 
 
Jaczkowski said Fort Gordon provides an ideal setting with a 10-kilometer loop that has a three-kilometer stretch of dirt road and the rest is paved. The long stretches of isolated roads allow the teams to put their test vehicles through a series of high-speed tests. 
 
"Yesterday we ran a 100-mile test where the lead vehicle was being driven manually and the robot was following,” Jaczkowski said. “We did this successfully where the average speed was about 22 miles per hour. You may think that 22 miles per hour is not that fast when operational convoys are going 60 to 70 miles per hour. But you have to take into account that we did 68 right turns. 
 
“You don't take right turns at 50 miles per hour, especially with a 20-ton robot." 
 
On straight stretches, the vehicles routinely speed along at more than 40 mph, Jaczkowski said. 
 
Pointing to the bristling array of sensors on the vehicles, Jaczkowski said these vehicles incorporate second-generation ladar-laser radar, forward-looking infrared sensors, and advanced computers to handle autonomous navigation. 
 
For the autonomous follower, engineers are going beyond Global Positioning Systems to link terrain data from the lead vehicle back to the follower vehicle to augment data the follower vehicle gathers from on-board sensors. 
 
"We have a major emphasis to create systems that can operate without GPS. We know that electronic interference can easily jam GPS in a battle zone. 
 
"The idea is to pass electronic bread crumbs from the manned lead vehicle back to the autonomous follower vehicle, and provide high-level proofing of the follower's path so the follower avoids areas that might impede or confuse its autonomous navigation system, while requiring only a minimum of human intervention and control from the lead vehicle," Jaczkowski said. 
 
Jaczkowski characterized all the testing so far as outstanding and gave high marks to the Fort Gordon Battle Lab and range control. Jaczkowski is quick to point out that the testing that he is conducting is not about the relatively new Stryker vehicle. 
 
"The Stryker is a fielded system, but the robotic convoy technology sensors that we have on these units are what we are putting through the research and development stage." 
 
The demonstration conducted before the media Feb. 10 showed how adept the robot is in making decisions. The lead vehicle was manually driven along the road through an area where a gate wa set, with the robot vehicle following about 100 meters behind. 
 
After the lead vehicle passed, the engineers were planning to pull a cord releasing a gate to block the path. The follower vehicle should be able to detect the gate and plot a path around it before continuing, Jaczkowski said. 
 
True to Murphy's Law and the sight-on rule, the chord attached to the spring release broke as engineer Karl Murphy tugged it to release the gate. Undaunted, Murphy reached down and tripped the release. The gate swung into the path of the following robot. 
 
With only a few seconds to assess, the robot slowed, and veered around the gate. It then continued on its path, following the lead vehicle. It was a slight glitch and only served to more graphically demonstrate how perceptive the robot is, Jaczkowski said. 
 
In the future, Jaczkowski speculates the current efforts will lead to manned and unmanned convoys. "There are two avenues that the Army is pursuing. The near-term objective is to automate the function of driving in a convoy vehicle." 
 
Soldiers will remain in the vehicles for now, but by placing a vehicle on auto-pilot, the driver will be able to perform other duties or rest. The long-term objective is to create dedicated unmanned ground vehicles. 
 
In the tests being conducted on Fort Gordon, the lead vehicle develops a path along a route that it transmits to the follower vehicle that can follow the path immediately or weeks later. 
 
"This is the beginning of going from point A to point B autonomously," Jaczowski said. 
 
He said the payoff will be in saving lives from such routine missions as resupplying forces in environments like Iraq where roadside bombs wreak havoc. 
 
The group will continue testing Feb. 24 to March 10, Jaczowski said. 
 
-ends- 
 

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bin/client/modele.pl?session=dae.16882086.1133972074.Q5cKasOa9dUAAFC2ZcA&modele=jdc_34
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"