Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lockheed Martin's SMSS Vehicle Demonstrates Autonomous Performance For Logistics Centers

Lockheed Martin's SMSS Vehicle Demonstrates Autonomous Performance For Logistics Centers
June 17, 2010

DALLAS, TX, - Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently proved in a series of demonstration tests 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, CO, for several military attendees.

The SMSS vehicle performed all autonomous operations flawlessly, including:

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," said 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."

Attendees who witnessed the demonstration included representatives from the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Solider Requirements Division, Combined Arms Support Command, Training and Doctrine Command Accelerated Capabilities Division, Rapid Equipping Force, Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force's 60th Maintenance Group.

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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