The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for the production, integration and testing of the Autonomous Mobility Applique System (AMAS).
Valued at $11m, the contract was awarded as part of the DoD’s other transaction agreement with the Robotics Technology Consortium.
Lockheed Martin missiles and fire control business ground vehicles vice president Scott Greene said the AMAS would reduce the risks associated with driving vehicles in battlefield by delivering an automated option to alert, stop and adjust, or take full control under user supervision to the drivers.
"This technology is extremely versatile, considering our robust perception and control algorithms and our low-cost sensor suite," Greene added.
"We are confident we can spread its use across the eight vehicle types the programme will use for demonstration. Many of the algorithms on AMAS also control Lockheed Martin’s Squad Mission Support System unmanned ground vehicle, which was recently used by soldiers in Afghanistan."
The AMAS is a multiplatform kit, designed to facilitate autonomous operation of the US Army and Marine Corps tactical vehicles by allowing integration of low-cost sensors and control systems.
Without causing interference to drivers who choose to operate the vehicle manually, the platform independent kit provides alerts to operators for rapid response to safety threats.
Featuring a simple, single-button activation, the cost-effective kit can be readily used by operators with minimal training.
The majority of AMAS technology has already been demonstrated by Lockheed as part of the army’s successful convoy active safety technology (CAST) programme that added advanced leader/follower autonomy to multiple tactical vehicles serving in convoys.
CAST vehicles were verified under a multitude of combat conditions by the US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), which demonstrated its ability to save lives by enhancing both safety and security.
Work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company’s facilities in Colorado and Dallas, US, until 2014.