The MATTRACKS T4-3500 robot uses track technology that provides mobility and traction in mud, sand, snow, swamp and tundra conditions. TARDEC has been working with MATTRACKS, a Karlstad, MN-based company, for more than a year on a Tracked Unmanned Ground Vehicle project to develop a chassis and electric drive system with superior off-road performance. (Photo courtesy of MATTRACKS.)

DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI Ac"a,! The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center has been working with MATTRACKS, a Karlstad, Minnesota-based company, to develop a chassis and electric drive system with superior off-road performance.

TARDEC, a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, recently demonstrated the MATTRACKS T4-3500 robotic project, a Karlstad, MN-based company. During the demonstration, the 3,100-pound robot whirred to life as it glided down a ramp onto the pavement making less noise than a remote-controlled child's toy.

The Tank-Automotive Command's Life Cycle Management Command is the center for Department of Defense-based ground vehicle robotics projects. TARDEC's Track and Suspension Team, Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility Directorate, and the Intelligent Ground Systems Directorate, are exploiting opportunities for near-term technology solutions to satisfy a broad range of operational needs in developing ground vehicle robotic platforms and platform components, to include advanced chassis, suspension and robotic drive systems.

During the demonstration, the T4-3500 was put through its paces, successfully performing 360-degree pivot turns, crab walking and driving over moguls, navigation up and down hills, and a one-meter step.

The T4-3500 has five unique components:

A four-track drive system that allows for maximum mobility and greater stability.
Aca,!Ac A walking beam suspension that allows flexibility when encountering mogul-like bumps.
Aca,!Ac A modular track system with interchangeable tracks that can be easily replaced by removing only one bolt.
Aca,!Ac A passive dual rocker, shape-changing suspension that absorbs road shock.
Aca,!Ac Four MATTRACKS electric wheel motors to power the vehicle.

MATTRACKS designed the track system, suspension system, in-hub drive motors, chassis and power source. It will continue over the next year to develop a second version of the T4-3500 that will incorporate installation of common Military Communication Language and hardware, the ability to remotely control the vehicle, higher-powered in-hub motors and high-energy batteries and the ability to operate in a manned and unmanned capacity.

Page last updated Mon June 16th, 2008 at 15:10