NREC has developed an immersive teleoperation system that allows operators to remotely drive an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) more effectively over complex terrain.
The United States Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program is developing autonomous UGVs for use in military missions. These missions are classic examples of "triple D” – dirty, dull and dangerous. Automating them will save lives and allow the Army to better carry out its essential tasks. However, full robotic autonomy is not yet at the point where it can be used on the battlefield. Human intervention is still necessary to successfully make use of UGVs under real-world conditions.
Teleoperation allows a human operator to remotely control a UGV. During tactical missions, UGV must maneuver at high speeds and may range far from the operator. The poor situational awareness that current teleoperation systems provide makes it nearly impossible to maintain the pace of operations (optempo) needed to successfully perform tactical missions. By developing more effective teleoperation systems, the military can reap the benefits of using unmanned systems without having to wait for breakthroughs in autonomy.
NREC is developing an immersive teleoperation system as part of the UPI program (UGCV-PerceptOR Integration). NREC’s teleoperation system has been tested on the Crusher UGV under a wide variety of driving conditions. This testing has quantified factors that affect a remote operator’s ability to drive quickly and safely in challenging off-road environments.