The US Marine Corps (USMC) Warfighting Lab (MCWL) has started the evaluation of Oshkosh TerraMax unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) technology equipped on medium tactical vehicle replacements (MTVR) as part of the MCWL's cargo UGV initiative.
The training marks the first multiple UGV operation in a single convoy using the TerraMax UGV technology, which is aimed at determining capabilities when supporting real-time missions.
Conducted during the MCWL's enhanced MAGTF operations (EMO) limited objective experiment (LOE) 2.2 at Fort Pickett, Virginia, the EMO LOE 2.2 also evaluated future mission-related technologies and capabilities.
John Beck, Oshkosh chief unmanned systems engineer, said that during the three days at the EMO LOE 2.2, around seven marines were trained on the UGVs operations.
"The capabilities of our highly sophisticated UGV systems require minimal user intervention to complete their missions, opening the door for future logistics operations to be conducted with fewer warfighters, reducing cost and saving lives," Beck added.
Capable of performing in operating conditions as manned vehicles, the TerraMax UGV technology can be easily integrated on new Oshkosh production vehicles and existing fleets, as well as retrofitted on those built by other manufacturers.
Designed as a scalable kit, Oshkosh's technology does not alter the original payload and performance capabilities of the vehicle and can conduct planned missions in complete autonomous mode or by 'shadowing' the lead vehicle.
For the development of the technology's perception system and autonomy software, Oshkosh partnered with the National Robotics Engineering Center of Carnegie Mellon University, while MCWL and the Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise Robotics Technology Consortium serve as sponsors for the cargo UGV project.
Awarded in June 2010, the cargo UGV initiative has seen Oshkosh deliver a second TerraMax-equipped MTVR in earlier this year, with government evaluations on two Oshkosh UGVs performed in June.
Oshkosh's UGV technology was assessed for the first time in August 2011 by combat-veteran marines, during which the technology was put through a series of tests in hostile terrain and conditions.
Image: A convoy of USMC's MTVRs in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of USMC.