Skip to main content

Engineers Unveil Futuristic Unmanned 'Crusher' Vehicle

Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute is unveiling a unique unmanned ground vehicle that offers new strength, mobility and autonomy features for the Army's effort to keep its troops out of harm's way.

The 6.5-ton "Crusher" combines the strength and mobility of a predecessor known as Spinner with NREC-developed autonomy capabilities to create an extremely robust, unmanned vehicle that can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain. The project is known by the acronym UPI, which stands for Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) PerceptOR Integration.

The UPI project, which includes extensive autonomy development, payload integration and field-testing, is funded by the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at an expenditure of $35 million to date. Experts say UPI incorporates technologies six to 10 years ahead of its time and provides an unprecedented glimpse into the future capabilities of unmanned military vehicles. The technologies developed for Crusher also have potential for commercial use in areas like construction, farming and mining.

Crusher does not carry human crews, therefore its design offers unequaled ruggedness, mobility and payload-carrying capacity.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSince Crusher and its predecessor do not have to accommodate human crews, their novel designs offer unequaled ruggedness, mobility and payload-carrying capacity compared to manned vehicles in their weight class. Crusher's hull is made from high-strength aluminum tubes and titanium nodes protected by a steel skid plate that can absorb shocks from impacts with rocks or tree stumps. Its unique suspension enables it to move smoothly over extremely rough terrain and overcome obstacles like large ditches, man-made barriers or piles of boulders. It can carry more than 8,000 lbs. of payload and armor. Electric motors embedded in each of the vehicle's six wheels are powered with a hybrid system that uses a turbo diesel generator to recharge its batteries. Its top speed is currently 26 miles per hour.

[read more]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Iran: A Rummy Guide

To borrow a phrase used for Iraq, there are 'things we now know we don't know.'Back in June 2002, as the Bush administration started pushing hard for war with Iraq by focusing on fears of the unknown—terrorists and weapons of mass destruction—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained that when it came to gathering intelligence on such threats, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Elaborating, Rumsfeld told a news conference: "There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know."Now there's a crisis brewing with Iran. And the same basic problem applies: what is known, what is suspected, what can be only guessed or imagined? Is danger clear and present or vague and distant? Washington is abuzz now, as it was four years ago, with "sources" talking of sanctions…