DETROIT — The U.S. Army Maneuver Center’s 10x Project reached a key milestone last month by integrating, testing and validating current robotics and artificial intelligence technology capabilities for dismounted infantry.
The U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center hosted the integration event together with Army Research Lab and West Point's Robotic Research Center.
“The 10x Project explores the use of autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence as force multipliers to increase the capabilities and impact of dismounted infantry platoons by a factor of 10 or more,” said Milot Resyli, GVSC Branch Chief for Dismounted Robotic Systems.
“The project will integrate, test and demonstrate a prototype system of systems using existing state-of-the-art autonomous vehicles and AI technologies to support dismounted infantry maneuver and reconnaissance,” Resyli said.
The 10x project team successfully integrated GVSC’s Robotic Technology Kernel (RTK) Lite sensor payload on four of Boston Dynamics’ popular Spot legged robot platforms.
RTK Lite is the Army’s library of modular software packages suitable for small robotic platforms to provide autonomous navigation in GPS-enabled and GPS-denied environments. The autonomy-enabled legged robots are intended to provide the Army the capability to perform reconnaissance and other critical mission tasks in the complex terrains covered by the infantry while removing the warfighter from the immediate risk.
“We are dedicated to getting robotics capability into the hands of Soldiers,” said Robert Sadowski, the Army’s Chief Roboticist. “Advances in ground robotics and autonomy will provide Army formations new capabilities to help achieve its goals for Multi-Domain Operations,” Sadowski said.
The on-site involvement of ARL and West Point engineers was instrumental in achieving recent 10x accomplishments.
"The RTK Lite application bundle gives us several key components out of the box,” said Col. Christopher Korpela, Director of West Point's Robotic Research Center. “It is great for the Army's future technical leaders to build upon RTK Lite's baseline across multiple projects and platforms to develop cadets and faculty in robotics and autonomous systems," Korpela said.
“Working with our partners at GVSC as well as the faculty and cadets at West Point allows us to ensure our capabilities transition to the systems which need them, as well as developing future Army leaders who understand the Soldiers, the mission, and the technologies they will employ,” said Cynthia M. Bedell, ARL’s Director of Computational Information & Sciences Directorate. “It’s an investment in today’s research and tomorrow’s research users and leaders,” she said.
The robots next go for formation-control testing with industry performers in advance of experiments at Fort Benning in April.