Autonomous Mobility Applique System (AMAS) JCTD
Joint Forces routinely conduct sustainment convoys within an asymmetric threat environment that is compounded by long sustainment missions, adverse weather/environment and night operations. These conditions adversely impact operator safety, degrade driver/operator situational awareness and reduce resupply efficiency. Units are experiencing high numbers of vehicle accidents while conducting prolonged ground distribution operations under extreme conditions and threats.
The AMAS JCTD (2012-2014) developed a robotic solution for convoy and vehicle operations, enabled by two kits:
- By-Wire/Active Safety Kit: Allows control of primary vehicle functions -- steering, throttle, braking. The kit consists of commercial off-the-shelf technologies, including driver warning and assist devices, GPS navigation, sensors, operator interface, and more.
- Autonomy Kit: This, along with the above kit, resulted in robotic vehicle, capable of performing various missions, autonomously or semi-autonomously. The Kit is comprised of sensors; computers that process sensor data; and a radio that communicates with other assets.
With AMAS, operators can control vehicles in several modes ranging from zero autonomy to full system autonomy: Manual Driver; Driver Warning with sounds and indicators to alert driver of obstacles or road departure; Driver Assist with warnings and driver interventions -- like braking for obstacles; Tethered Remote Control - remotely controlling, using line-of-sight; Waypoint Navigation - navigating by programmed waypoints; Leader/Follower - vehicles leading/following by communicating with each other.
AMAS was successfully demonstrated on six different tactical vehicles, totaling ten, at Savannah River Site, South Carolina in July 2013 and July 2014. Operators were warfighters with extensive convoy experience. They used all AMAS operating modes. Vehicles often functioned without operators onboard, moving in convoy formation; through built up areas; braking and avoiding obstacles; and more. See AMAS demonstration on YouTube.
AMAS helped determine U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps requirements for autonomous tactical vehicles and is accelerating two related Army programs. AMAS-operated vehicles were featured at the 2016 North American International Auto Show and are stimulating interests, as indicated by media reports, such as Are driverless fire truck in our future? and Self-Driving Cars Might Be Shifting into High Gear Thanks to the US Army.