Autonomous ground vehicle contract aims to change military-convoy refueling operationsNews
March 30, 2021
BOULDER, Colo. Robotics/autonomous-vehicle maker Stratom has won a contract with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) to develop an autonomous ground vehicle refueling (AGVR) prototype system to integrate onto a palletized load system (PLS) flat rack for autonomous convoy operations.
Stratom’s AGVR system leverages vision sensing and detection systems to autonomously locate the fuel port on a target vehicle, engage the port, and begin the fueling process; upon completion of fueling, the AGVR's arm automatically retracts. The system -- which includes a fuel tank, generator, robotic arm, sensor technologies, and a stack of computer equipment, all integrated into an intuitive Warfighter Machine Interface (WMI) -- will be able to refuel a PLS either from the ground or from the flat rack of another PLS from virtually anywhere on the convoy route.
By removing as many warfighters from that logistics function as possible, say Stratom officials, autonomous refueling can not only vastly improve the safety and security of convoy operations, but it can also make the most of resources and benefit the final cost of an on-the-move operation. “Our AGVR system is an impressive example of how autonomy in logistics can streamline operations, optimize resources and alleviate risks,” said Mark Gordon, President & CEO of Stratom. “By empowering humans to stay focused on high-level, mission-oriented, decision-making tasks -- not the supporting functions of those tasks -- our solution significantly increases project flexibility and cost-efficiency while also solving productivity and safety challenges.”
Stratom is expected to demonstrate the full capability of its AGVR prototype system for Army leadership by late fall of 2021.