US Army Taps Robotic Research for Convoy Autonomy Kits (See Video)

The ExLF will cover Palletized Load System A1 vehicles built by Oshkosh and will involve an operational technical demonstration.
The ExLF will cover Palletized Load System A1 vehicles built by Oshkosh and will involve an operational technical demonstration, with a goal of reducing the vulnerability of soldiers on convoy's in roadside IED attacks.

Robotic Research, of Maryland, has been awarded a U.S. Army 3-year, $49.7 million contract to provide Autonomy Kits for large convoy resupply vehicles as part of the Expedient Leader Follower (ExLF) program.

The purpose of ExLF is to extend the scope of the Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) program by developing and installing sophisticated Autonomy Kits for additional Army vehicles (Oshkosh PLS A1s),  enabling effective autonomous resupply convoy operations.

In such convoys, a series of optionally manned vehicles autonomously follow the path of the first (manned) vehicle.

(U.S. Army TARDEC’s latest leader-follower technology on display. Courtesy of RDECOMTARDEC and YouTube. Posted on Oct 27, 2017)

The ExLF program builds on the progress demonstrated during the Autonomous Mobility Applique Systems (AMAS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) and AGR programs to develop unmanned prototype systems that address the needs of the Leader Follower Directed Requirement and Program of Record.

ExLF will equip existing military ground vehicles and will conduct an Operational Technical Demonstration with scalable autonomy technology showcasing the integration of modular kits, common interfaces, and a scalable open architecture.

The AGR architecture is being developed to become the de-facto autonomous architecture for all foreseeable ground robotic vehicles.

Alberto Lacaze, President of Robotic Research

Robotic Research, LLC, is an innovative engineering company that provides autonomy software and robotic technology solutions to numerous Federal and commercial customers.

“We are deeply honored to have been selected to perform this critical work for the U.S. Army,” said Alberto Lacaze, President of Robotic Research.

“The Robotic Research team shares the Army’s commitment to rapidly fielding effective autonomy solutions to our Nation’s soldiers.”

Autonomous operations of ground vehicles has become a major modernization thrust of the Army leadership.

Army Secretary Mark Esper
Army Secretary Mark Esper

“If you look back at the Iraq war, one of the most dangerous duties was driving, riding in a convoy…,” said Army Secretary Mark Esper, during a recent visit to the Army’s Tank and Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC).

“We lost many, many soldiers to IED [roadside bomb] attacks, other attacks on convoys.”

“I could’ve reduced that vulnerability, that sacrifice [with] unmanned convoys or convoys that were manned by [only] a couple of a soldiers.”

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