Lockheed Martin’s SMSS vehicle demonstrates autonomous performance for logistics centers

LITTLETON, Colo., 19 June 2010. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] demonstrated that its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicle can perform detailed logistics tasks without human control. The testing was conducted at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, Colo., for military attendees.

Posted by John McHale

LITTLETON, Colo., 19 June 2010. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] demonstrated that its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicle can perform detailed logistics tasks without human control. The testing was conducted at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, Colo., for military attendees.

The SMSS autonomous vehicle performed autonomous operations such as:

- correctly following a road network;

- safely maneuvering through a building complex;

- avoiding obstacles inserted in its path, including mannequins simulating people;

- following a person using only optical tracking, exercising real-time obstacle avoidance; and

- navigating to a person who issued a "come-to-me" command.

SMSS also demonstrated its ease of operability in real-time controller-to-controller hand-offs, allowing different operators to take control of the vehicle as it arrived at new locations. Operators also disengaged autonomy and went on board the vehicle to control it manually, showcasing user options in commanding the system.

"These demonstrations exemplify how the military can benefit from SMSS as an autonomous logistics vehicle to move parts, tools, and materiel around fixed installations," says Don Nimblett, senior business development manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "SMSS has proved through performance that our approach to autonomy is flexible and adaptable to a variety of platforms and missions. We've already proved the advantages SMSS can bring in the field through U.S. Army-funded warfighter experiments. These recent trials showed how SMSS can perform in crowded, limited environments transporting tons of cargo."

The SMSS was initially developed as a Lockheed Martin initiative to lighten the load for light infantry soldiers and marines. A highly mobile 6x6 vehicle, SMSS can carry 1,200 pounds of gear for a 9- to 13-person squad, and it can accompany the squad on many missions through heavy terrain. The fully loaded SMSS can be sling-loaded under a UH-60L helicopter, or carried internally in a CH-47/53 helicopter. The robotic capabilities and autonomy utilized on SMSS are also applicable to a much broader range of robotic applications, missions, and vehicles.

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