TABLE 2-1 UGV Capability Classes, Example Systems, and Potential Mission Function Applications

Example System

Capability Class

Other Possible Applications

Small robotic building and tunnel searcher (“Searcher”)

Teleoperated ground vehicle

Mine detection, mine clearing, engineer construction, EOD/UXO, materials handling, soldier-portable reconnaissance/surveillance

Small-unit logistics mover (“Donkey”)

Semiautonomous preceder/follower

Supply convoy, medical evacuation, smoke laying, indirect fire, reconnaissance/surveillance, physical security

Unmanned wingman ground vehicle (“Wingman”)

Platform-centric autonomous ground vehicle

Remote sensor, counter-sniper, counter-reconnaissance/infiltration, indirect fire, single outpost/scout, chemical/biological agent detection, battle damage assessment

Autonomous hunter-killer team (“Hunter-Killer”)

Network-centric autonomous ground vehicle

Deep RSTA, combined arms (lethal direct fire/reconnaissance/indirect fire for small unit defense or offense), static area defense, MOUT reconnaissance

EOD/UXO = explosive ordnance disposal/unexploded ordnance; RSTA = reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition; MOUT = military operations in urban terrain.

nology maturity levels in each of the relevant technology areas. It is emphasized that these examples are not and should not be interpreted as recommended Army operational requirements. They are intended to illustrate the interplay of the applicable UGV technologies, as well as to show when the levels of technology could be developed to achieve reasonable military capabilities.

In the following sections each example application is described in terms of an overarching concept, operational approach, basic capabilities, and UGV-human interface. These descriptions will be the basis for subsequent analysis to determine when the various technologies will be sufficiently robust to support a system development (i.e., reach Technology Readiness Level 6 [TRL 6]). See definitions for Technology Readiness Levels in Table 4-1 of Chapter 4.

Teleoperated Ground Vehicles

In teleoperation a human operator controls a robotic vehicle from a distance. The connotation of teleoperation is that the distance is or can be great enough that the operator cannot see directly what the vehicle is doing. Therefore, the operator’s information about the vehicle’s environment and its motion in that environment depends critically on sensors that acquire information about the remote location, the display technology for allowing the operator to visualize the vehicle’s environment, and the communication link between the vehicle and the operator. The operator controls the actions of the vehicle through a control interface (Murphy, 2000).

For the purposes of this report, the operator of a teleoperated ground vehicle (TGV) is assumed to be responsible for the majority of the command and tasking functions for the vehicle and its mission package. Control is similar to piloting a UAV. A TGV has no onboard terrain reasoning or military maneuvering capability, nor does it access this information from any other source. The operator conducts all cognitive processes. The sensors onboard the vehicle and the communications link allow the operator to visualize the

TABLE 2-2 Relative Dependence of Technology Areas for Each UGV Class

 

Need/Relevance

Technology Area

TGV

SAP/F-UGV

PC-AGV

NC-AGV

Perception

For A-to-B mobility

2

3

5

4

For situation awareness

0(2a)

0(3a,b)

5

5

Navigation

3

5

5

5

Planning

For path

0(2b)

3

5

5

For mission

1

1

4

5

Behaviors and skills

Tactical skills

1(2b)

1(2b)

4

5

Cooperative robots

1

3

5

5

Learning/adaptation

1(2b)

3

3

3

Human–robot interaction

5

2

4

4

Mobility

5

5

5

5

Communications

5

3

3

5

Power/energy

5

5

5

5

Health maintenance

1

3

5

5

TGV = teleoperated ground vehicle, SAP/F-UGV = semiautonomous preceder/follower ground vehicle, PC-AGV = platform-centric autonomous ground vehicle, NC-AGV = network-centric autonomous ground vehicle.

aNeeded during crisis.

bNeeded during lack of communication with operator.

Key to Ratings

0 = no need

1 = low need

2 = below average need

3 = average need

4 = above average need

5 = high need



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