krtkl, VISIMO and Textron Systems have received a small business innovation research (SBIR) award from the US Army to enhance the use of robotic combat vehicles (RCVs).

The companies will provide a sensor fusion platform for the RCVs.

The ruggedised, software-reconfigurable platform will advance the vehicles’ monitoring and communications capabilities.

Under its Phase I project, krtkl will engage in increasing the uptime of the RCVs, efficiency, and service life. It will also focus on reducing cost of maintenance, manual diagnostics as well as lower supply chain delays.

krtkl CEO Ryan Cousins said: “We’re excited to partner with VISIMO’s artificial intelligence and machine learning research team and work with Textron Systems’ RIPSAW M5 vehicle, which together represent the future of Army AI and autonomy innovation.”

Currently, VISIMO is working on a contract with the Army AI Integration Center (AI2C) on advanced cloud development platform Coeus.

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VISIMO president and CEO James Julius said that Coeus project plays a key role in the US Army’s AI artificial intelligence (AI) efforts.

Julius said: “This award, and the potential to integrate Coeus with robotic vehicle systems, will enable Coeus to tie AI R&D and applied predictive maintenance together, maximising the Army’s ability to use and share the innovative technologies in development.”

Meanwhile, Textron Systems’ M5 robotic combat vehicle is part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) RCV programme.

krtkl will use test data of Textron Systems to enable a prototype that effectively integrates with existing systems such as M5.

Textron Systems senior vice-president David Phillips said: “Our M5 vehicle will protect soldiers on the battlefield while providing an unprecedented level of integrated capability.

“This award will allow us to continue working closely with our customers to accelerate the effective use of ground robotic vehicles within their tactical operations.”

Work under the contract will also involve visits to US Army bases in the nation to understand the requirements of the end-user and customise the prototype.