By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public AffairsOctober 6, 2016
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Army scientific innovation was on full display as thousands of Soldiers, Army civilian employees and defense contractors convened here Oct. 3-5.
The Army Research, Development and Engineering Command demonstrated its latest technology efforts at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, commonly known as AUSA.
Scientists and engineers from each of RDECOM's seven research centers and laboratories gave 11 presentations at the AUSA Innovators Corner over the three-day conference. Topics included research areas such as 3D terrain visualization and interactive autonomy kits.
Christopher Hurley, an electronics engineer with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, discussed dismounted Soldier power.
"The average Soldier in an Infantry rifle company has about 11 different battery types totaling up to 13 pounds," he said. "We're trying to focus on reducing the weight burden and increasing the amount of energy in each of those batteries.
"The conformal battery is a thin, lightweight, flexible, lithium-ion rechargeable battery that allows a Soldier to eliminate many of the spares he would typically carry to support a three-day mission. The battery ties into a power-management device, and a Soldier would be able to power all of their onboard electronics with just one battery."
Kendra Meggett-Carr, RDECOM technology transfer program manager, talked about how the command connects with industry and academia to further Army capabilities.
"We want to break down those barrier to collaborate. Our offices all across RDECOM provide those mechanisms to engage," Meggett-Carr said. "Through a cooperative research and development agreement [CRADA], folks can leverage Army facilities and Army know-how to advance their own mission, alongside researchers."
In addition to the presentations, RDECOM demonstrated industry collaboration with five exhibits. These included the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center's work with Sikorsky on Future Vertical Lift.
The Army and General Motors unveiled the ZH2 Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstrator. GM and the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center developed the vehicle, which is based on the Chevrolet Colorado, under an agreement signed in 2015.
"Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities," TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers said. "We expect the vehicle to be quiet in operation and ready to provide electricity generation for needs away from the vehicle. With fuel cell technology advancing, it's an ideal time to investigate its viability in extreme military-use conditions."
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The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.