Heavy robot truck ready to enlist in US Marines

TerraMax seven tonne truck paves way for autonomous vehicles

The TerraMax incorporates short-range radars to provide 360-degree, close-proximity obstacle detection and avoidance controls.
The TerraMax incorporates short-range radars to provide 360-degree, close-proximity obstacle detection and avoidance controls.

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The TerraMax seven tonne autonomous truck is ready for action, manufacturer Oshkosh declared at the world’s largest unmanned vehicles event last week.

The 6x6 truck recently completed testing with the US Marine Corps Cargo UGV initiative and is now ready to be passed onto US Marine units for training.

John Beck, chief unmanned systems engineer at Oshkosh said that the robot is capable of acting with an operator or autonomously. Its Cargo UGV trials involved it completing more than 6 miles of driving without GPS input; successfully avoiding all obstacles and tracking a variety of cooperative and non-cooperative vehicles.

"The first limited technical assessment of Oshkosh's TerraMax technology involved numerous tests and successful results, including obstacle avoidance, leader-follower behavior, GPS-denied operation and water crossings," said Beck at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems 2011 (AUVSI) event in Washington.

"We are excited to be getting this technology into the hands of the Marines next week, when we train them to operate the system and gain their valuable feedback on its performance in a tactical environment."

The TerraMax incorporates short-range radars to provide 360-degree, close-proximity obstacle detection and avoidance making it suitable for convoy work in rugged conditions. Future applications could include construction and especially mining.

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