recommended reading

Army: System to guide battlefield robots passes test

The system will process data from sensors to steer robots like this 2.5-ton unmanned vehicle.Army

The Army successfully completed a critical design review of an autonomous navigation system powered by a supercomputer that can react much like a human does in analyzing surroundings, and plans to use the tool in the next generation of armed robotic vehicles, a program official said on Wednesday.

The system is one of the few surviving remnants of the Army's ambitious $160 Future Combat Systems that was supposed to field smart, networked vehicles, but last year Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the manned ground vehicles portion of the program which was the foundation of FCS.

The advanced navigation system applies doctoral-level smarts to guiding a robotic vehicle on a battlefield, said Lt. Col. Jay Ferreira, program manager for the Unmanned Vehicles Integration Office for the Army's Brigade Combat Team Modernization project, said during a press briefing.

Inputs to the navigation system include three cameras mounted on a vehicle that can see in day or night as well as two radar systems. It also features GPS and inertial navigation systems to determine the vehicle's precise location. Information from the sensors and cameras is fed into a five-board supercomputer that crunches the data at a rate of trillions of floating point operations per second, said Larry Hennebeck, program manager for the automated navigation system.

Ferreira said portions of the smart navigation system have been tested on current Army vehicles such as the Stryker and Light Medium Tactical Vehicle. The service still must conduct more tests and develop a budget before the system is placed in the field on an assault vehicle

in 2012.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.