The U.S. Army has dropped $2.2 million into a project designed to protect soldiers from unhealthy workloads and prevent related expenditures. At its heart is 5D Robotics‘ Behavior Engine (BE) software and mobile hardware platforms from Segway and DRS Technologies.
Medical professionals advise that individuals carry no more than 10-15 percent of their body weight on their backs; however, soldiers carry approximately 91-101.5 pounds according to research by SFC Robert Ehrlich. To unburden the soldiers, and decrease fatigue, the Army is loading autonomous robots, like Segway’s rugged RMP 440 LE vehicle, with hundreds of pounds of critical equipment, including soldiers’ packs, sandbags, food and water.
5D Robotics’ BE software handles the robot navigation. The program emphasizes rapid, reactive, biologically inspired behavioral responses as opposed to the GPS, mapping, planning and continuous communication relied on by competitive solutions. It employs UWB tracking tags that allow the robotic vehicle to follow a human or another tagged vehicle while avoiding collisions with other objects.
“We are committed to finding ways to help reduce fatigue and increase the safety of solders in the field. Our 5D BE software enables robots to carry hundreds of pounds of gear, yet still remain agile in the complex terrain that soldiers often find themselves in,” said David Bruemmer, 5D vice president.