SwRI awarded $34 million contract to support U.S. Army ground vehicle systems centre


Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received a contract valued at up to $34 million over five years to support the US. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center through research and development of autonomous and robotic vehicles.

SwRI’s work in this space focuses on mobile platforms ranging from compact, purpose-built autonomous vehicles to automated high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and even larger tactical vehicles. SwRI has also developed aerial drones to be integrated with military ground vehicles.

“SwRI is proud to continue developing the latest autonomous and robotic systems for the U.S. military,” said Joseph Hernandez, an SwRI principal engineer overseeing the programme. “This IDIQ contract offers a more direct link to our end customers and allows us to provide more innovative solutions to support our warfighters.”

SwRI began developing automated vehicle (AV) technology in 2006 through a multidisciplinary internal research program known as MARTI (Mobile Autonomous Robotics Technology Initiative). The project has evolved to serve military and commercial clients with development of automated systems using sensing, machine learning, and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies.

For more than a decade, SwRI has supported the Army with development of autonomous robotic vehicle systems. SwRI’s robotics systems have been integrated onto more than 15 unique military ground vehicle platforms, some of which were deployed overseas as part of the Dismounted Soldier Autonomy Tools (DSAT) program.

SwRI has also played a key role in the development of the Robotics Technology Kernel (RTK), an autonomy software library that provides a set of common robotic capabilities across a variety of vehicle platforms.

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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as ivtinternational.com. He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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