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ARCH: A humvee that drives itself September 4, 2009

Posted by emiliekopp in industry robot spotlight.
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Speaking of autonomous vehicles, here’s an autonomous humvee from TORC Technologies, a company founded by a couple of Virginia Tech graduates several years ago. Needless to say, VT is a hot bed of UGV experts.

The idea is that you have a an unmanned humvee at the lead of a convoy. That way, if any IEDs and/or land mines are encountered on the convoy’s path, the unmanned vehicle is targeted first. The leading humvee can be teleoperated (remotely controlled) by an operator in the chase vehicle, or it can operate semi-autonmously or autonomously on its own.

TORC has become an industry expert in unmanned and autonomous vehicle systems. They helped create VictorTango, the vehicle that won 3rd prize in the DARPA Urban Challenge. NI has had the pleasure of working with them quite a bit. They’ve done a lot of their development using LabVIEW and CompactRIO.

Something I thought was cool is that TORC can turn any commericial automobile into an autonomous/teleoperated vehicle in a matter of hours. They do this by interfacing to the vehicle control unit through Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, and then communicate to it using JAUS commands. JAUS is like a universal language in military robotics. You can control one robot with specific JAUS commands and then control a different robot with the same commands, assuming they have the same computing nodes.

As if this blog post doesn’t already have enough acronyms, here’s the name of the autonomous humvee that TORC delivered to the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC):

ARCH: Autonomous Remote Control HMMWVs or Autonomous Remote Control for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (an acronym that contains yet another long acronym; engineers love this stuff)

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Comments»

1. David - September 4, 2009

Hi Emilie – thanks for the awesome write up on the ARCH system!


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