Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2018 Contents WINGMAN IS FIRST STEP TOWARD WEAPONIZED ROBOTICS
won a chess tournament against supercomputers and grand mas-
ters. Teaming amateurs with computers produced a signi cant
advantage over the computers or the grand masters.
Current autonomy technologies aren't as capable at their tasks
as Deep Blue was at its in 1997. Most have gaps in the percep-
tion and cognition areas. e use case for lethal robotic ground
systems requires a Soldier-in-the-loop in order to pull the trigger.
Wingman seeks to combine the perception and judgment of the
Soldier with the speed, power and precision of the machine to
produce an e ective unmanned ground weapon system.
Currently elded autonomous ground systems require a high
degree of Soldier oversight and tend to be limited to a speci c
mission. ey often fail to meet war ghter expectations because
of limitations in the autonomy or robustness of the integrated
hardware and software systems. ese constraints make it dif-
cult to eld an e ective weaponized robotic platform. e
Wingman technology demonstrator will address some of these
limitations with today's autonomous technology by developing
manned-unmanned teaming behaviors to iteratively de ne and
decrease the gap between autonomous vehicle control and the
required level of human interaction.
"Unlike other autonomous systems that seek to eliminate the
operators, weaponized autonomous systems will leverage the
Soldier-in-the-loop to automate operations and enhance the
Soldier's reach," said Keith Briggs, TARDEC's technical man-
ager of the Wingman program.
e prototype system complies with DOD Directive 3000.09,
"Autonomy in Weapon Systems," and will be used as a surrogate
to inform the development of future unmanned weapon systems.
ROBOTIC VEHICLE SUBSYSTEMS
e Wingman Weaponized Robotic Vehicle is an M1097
HMMWV and contains three primary subsystems:
• First is the TARDEC-developed Robotic Technology Kernel
(RTK), the autonomy system for planning and controlling the
vehicle's mobility. RTK contains driving cameras for remote
operation, LIDAR sensors (light detection and ranging) for
object classi cation, stereo cameras for terrain classi cation,
computers for computation, radios for communication, and
all the essential hardware, cables and mounts. e system can
be manually driven through teleoperation or autonomously
driven through waypoint navigation.
• e second subsystem is lethality, which uses the Picatinny
Lightweight Remote Weapon System. at system can use
an M134 Gatling-style minigun or an M240B machine gun.
Wingman is currently investigating changing the M240B for
an ARDEC-developed Advanced Remote Armament System.
is will provide additional capabilities, such as an externally
powered, purpose-built weapon to improve reliability and
accuracy, the ability to load and clear the weapon remotely
and an increased stowed ammunition load without decreasing
aim or stabilization.
• e Autonomous Remote Engagement System (ARES) is the
third subsystem. It provides automated engagement capa-
bilities to decrease target acquisition time with vision-based
automatic target detection and user-speci ed target selection.
is system will decrease engagement time and overcome
wireless control latency through video tracking, user assisted
re-control and control of the weapon.
COMMAND AND CONTROL VEHICLE
e Wingman Joint Capability Technology Demonstration
(JCTD) is currently using an M1151 HMMWV as its com-
mand-and-control (C2) vehicle. e C2 vehicle contains the
Soldier-machine interface that the Soldier uses to remotely oper-
ate the weaponized robotic vehicle. Five Soldiers currently man
Wingman's C2 vehicle. In front sit a driver and a vehicle com-
mander. In the rear seats are a wireless remote weapon system
ON ITS OWN
The Robotic Wingman vehicle maneuvers semiautonomously through a
Scout Gunnery Table VI course at Fort Benning, Georgia, in late 2017.
This is the same course manned combat vehicles and their crews must
pass before moving on to live fire training; there is thus plenty of data
about how manned vehicles handle the course, which the unmanned
Wingman's performance can be measured against.
88 Army AL&T Magazine January-March 2018
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