By Kalwinder Kaur
During the 2012 Robotics Rodeo, the Maneuver Center of Excellence highlighted sci-fi on the center stage. Around 75 varied technologies were demonstrated by over 40 vendors and five universities during the 10-day event from June 20 to June 29 at Fort Benning's McKenna Urban Operations Complex.
Supported by the Army's TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center), along with JIEDDO (Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization) and with the help of Maneuver Battle Lab, the Robotics Rodeo enables the military to utilize the R&D community's potential to solve the adaptive and complex threats within the existing battlefield. It integrates homeland security, defense, and academia and industry communities to promote robots for military applications.
According to the officials, several innovators took part in task-based environments. The open robotics demonstrations enabled educating developers, motivating industry to be aware of artificial intelligence, and the existing and emerging state of ground robotics technology. In addition, it serves to be a communication platform where government as well as industrial scientists and engineers can interact with the soldiers who may deploy the robots and unmanned systems for combat operations in the future.
According to Jim Parker, TARDEC’s associate director for ground vehicle robotics the Rodeo focuses on addressing capability caps in combating the IED, or improvised explosive device. During this year 2012, the unmanned platforms will be deployed for three operational vignettes such as providing supplies, discovering fighting positions for a squad, and autonomous detection of the presence of opposing forces.
This 2012 event is the third of all Robotics Rodeo hosted thus far and marks second at Fort Benning.