UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
23 Mar 09. Elbit Systems of America, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. announced it has joined as a team member for the commercialization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project to develop an Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR). This ambitious project is to develop an autonomous unmanned ground vehicle, or self-driving vehicle, capable of foraging – finding and consuming its own fuel. Elbit Systems of America joins project leader, Robotic Technology Incorporated (RTI) of Potomac, Maryland, and the University of Maryland in the EATR project.
The EATR system consists of four main subsystems:
— an autonomous intelligent control system and sensors;
— a manipulator system consisting of a robotic arm and end effectors (hands);
— a hybrid engine system consisting of a biomass combustion chamber, a Stirling (i.e., external combustion) engine and a re-chargeable battery pack; and
— a mobility platform, which may consist of any type of vehicle, such as a modified High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or specially-designed robotic vehicle. A basic goal of EATR is to develop a robotic ground vehicle that obtains its own fuel. The initial proof-of-concept demonstration, a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), will focus on the ability of the EATR to recognize biomass sources of energy from non-energy materials, properly manipulate and ingest the biomass materials into the engine system and generate electrical power to operate the various subsystems. The EATR project is being led by RTI under project managers, Dr. Robert Finkelstein and Dr. Jim Albus. The academic partner is the University of Maryland, who will help perform basic research. Elbit Systems of America will contribute to the development of fuel-recognition algorithms and to the large-scale robotic arm. (Source: ASD Network)