Ten-kilogram vehicle autonomous operations

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Robotics Research Center

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings Volume 7332, Unmanned Systems Technology XI; 73321X (2009)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


A low-cost unmanned ground vehicle designed to benchmark high-speed performance is presented. The E-Maxx four-wheel-drive radio-controlled vehicle equipped with a Robostix controller is proposed as a low-cost, high-speed robotic platform useful for military operations. The vehicle weighs less than ten kilograms making it easily portable by one person. Keeping cost low is a major consideration in the design with the aim of providing a disposable military robot. The suitability of the platform was evaluated and results are presented. Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) upgrades to the basic vehicle are recommended for durability. A procedure was established for bird's-eye-view video recording to document vehicle dynamics. Driver/vehicle performance is quantified by entry velocity, exit velocity and total time through a 90° turn on low-friction terrain. A setup for measuring these values is presented. Expert drivers use controlled skidding to minimize time through turns and the long term goal of the project is to automate such expert behaviors. Results of vehicle performance under human control are presented and stand as a reference for future autonomy.

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