|Manufacturer:||Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center - NREC|
|Product type:||Auxiliary Vehicles|
|Name:||Robot, Unmanned Vehicle|
NREC designed and developed the Crusher vehicle to support the UPI program's rigorous field experimentation schedule.
The UPI program features quarterly field experiments that assess the capabilities of large scale, unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) operating autonomously in a wide range of complex, off-road terrains. UPI's aggressive mobility, autonomy and mission performance objectives required two additional test platforms that could accommodate a variety of mission payloads and state of the art autonomy technology.
Crusher represents the next generation of the original Spinner platform, the world's first greater-than-6-ton, cross-country UGV designed from the ground up. Crusher offers more mobility, reliability, maintainability and flexibility than Spinner, at 29 percent less weight.
As a core building block in the Army's future force, tactical UGVs enable new war-fighting capabilities while putting fewer soldiers in harm's way. The full benefit of this new capability can only be achieved with field-validated understanding of UGV technology limits and consideration of the impact to Army doctrine, personnel, platforms and infrastructure.
UPI experiments encompass vehicle safety, the effects of limited communications bandwidth and GPS infrastructure on vehicle performance, and how vehicles and their payloads can be effectively operated and supervised.
By mid 2006, NREC will integrate its latest automation technology onto both Crusher vehicles. A combination of ladar and camera systems allow the vehicles to dynamically react to obstacles and travel through mission waypoints spaced over a kilometer apart. The use of overhead data via terrain data analysis will continue to be utilized for global planning. Over the next year these two vehicles will analyze, plan, and execute mobility missions over extreme terrains without any human interaction at all. Crusher’s suspension system allows it to maintain high offroad speeds across extreme terrains.
Crusher has a new space frame hull designed by CTC Technologies and made from high-strength aluminum tubes and titanium nodes. A suspended and shock-mounted skid plate made from high-strength steel allows Crusher to shrug off massive, below-hull strikes from boulders and tree stumps. The nose was completely redesigned for Crusher to sustain normal impacts with trees and brush while also absorbing the impact of major collisions.
Suspensions designed by Timoney support 30 in. of travel with selectable stiffness and reconfigurable ride height. Crusher can comfortably carry over 8000 lbs. of payload and armor. Crusher's hybrid electric system allows the vehicle to move silently on one battery charge over miles of extreme terrain. A 60kW turbo diesel engine maintains charge on the high-performance SAFT-built lithium ion battery module. Engine and batteries work intelligently to deliver power to Crusher's 6-wheel motor-in-hub drive system built around UQM traction motors.