DARPA and US Army Unveil Crusher UGCV

Released on Friday, April 28, 2006
United States of America
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
UGCV - Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle
UPI - UGCV-Perception for Off-Road Robots Integration
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Army today unveiled the Crusher unmanned ground combat vehicle in a ceremony hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Crusher vehicle is a follow-on and upgrade to the Spinner vehicle that was developed in a prior DARPA/Army program. Crusher is a six-wheeled, all-wheel drive, hybrid electric, skid-steered, unmanned ground vehicle. The vehicle weighs 14,000 pounds fully fueled, and is designed to carry a 3,000-pound payload - at this 17,000 pound total weight, two Crusher vehicles can be carried by a single C-130H aircraft at substantial range.

If desired, Crusher can carry up to 8,000 pounds of payload and armor without compromising its mobility. Crusher represents a new class of unmanned ground combat vehicles (UGCVs) developed under the DARPA/Army UGCV-Perception for Off-Road Robots Integration (UPI) program. Crusher is a highly mobile vehicle designed from the outset to be unmanned. It is being equipped with state-of-the-art perception capabilities, and will be used to validate the key technologies necessary for an unmanned ground vehicle to perform military missions autonomously. Crusher will be equipped with representative sensing and weapons payloads for planned field experiments.

The UPI program will conduct rigorous field experiments of the two Crusher vehicles and their perception and payload systems, with experiments planned at Fort Carson, Colorado, this summer. The program will culminate in 2007 with Army users operating Crusher vehicles during representative missions in natural terrain. The UPI effort will merge all Crusher functions (mission planning, perception monitoring, vehicle monitoring, and payload operation) into an operator workstation interface and determine interaction requirements via experimentation.

UPI is a joint program between DARPA and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, managed by DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. The Army's Program Manager Future Combat System (Brigade Combat Team) closely follows the program. Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center is the prime contractor for Crusher. Key subsystems and components are provided by CTC Technologies (vehicle hull chassis structure), Timoney Technology (suspension systems), Saft America (lithium-ion battery pack), and UQM Technologies (electric drive motors).


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