The UPI program improved the speed, reliability, and autonomy of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) operating in extreme off-road terrain.
UPI built upon the successful UGCV and PerceptOR projects to develop a highly mobile UGV capable of autonomously driving through deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands, and other challenging environments. It combined the mobility and ruggedness of the two Crusher vehicles with advanced perception, autonomy and learning techniques. The program stressed system design across vehicles, sensors and software, so that each component’s strengths compensated for another’s weakness.
A series of field experiments assessed the UPI program’s mobility, autonomy, teleoperation, and mission capabilities in a variety of environments. The UPI program met or exceeded its ambitious performance milestones for speed and autonomous operation while remaining on schedule and within budget. The two Crusher vehicles logged thousands of kilometers of autonomous operation in deserts, mountains, dense forests, swamps, and other types of extreme terrain.