August 11, 2021

TextronRCV M5 400x275Three companies have received a U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to provide a ruggedized, software-reconfigurable sensor fusion platform for advanced monitoring and communications of Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs). VISIMO, Textron Systems, and krtkl (“critical”) will use the award to help integrate RCVS into tactical operating environments and the Army maintenance infrastructure.

The Phase I project for krtkl will focus on maximizing vehicle uptime, efficiency, and service life, while minimizing maintenance costs, manual diagnostics, and supply chain delays through an integration of vehicles, sensor hardware, and software.

“Krtkl’s snickerdoodle has been recognized across industries as one of the most capable edge-computing platforms on the market,” said Ryan Cousins, CEO of krtkl. “We’re excited to partner with VISIMO’s artificial intelligence and machine learning research team and work with Textron SystemsRIPSAW M5 vehicle, which together represent the future of Army AI and autonomy innovation.”

VISIMO is currently under contract and working with the Army’s AI Integration Center on Coeus, a cloud development platform, while Textron’s M5 ground robotic vehicle (pictured) is part of the Next Generation Combat (NGCV) RCV program.

“Project Coeus is at the heart of the Army’s AI efforts,” said James Julius, president and CEO of VISIMO. “This award, and the potential to integrate Coeus with robotic vehicle systems, will enable Coeus to tie AI R&D and applied predictive maintenance together, maximizing the Army’s ability to use and share the innovative technologies in development.”

Krtkl said it will utilize Textron’s test data to enable a prototype that integrates efficiently with existing systems, such as the M5.

“Our M5 vehicle will protect soldiers on the battlefield while providing an unprecedented level of integrated capability,” said David Phillips, senior vice president at Textron Systems. “This award will allow us to continue working closely with our customers to accelerate the effective use of ground robotic vehicles within their tactical operations.”

The companies said that work on the project will include four site visits to Army bases around the U.S. to better understand the needs of the end-user and tailor the prototype to real-world use by, and for, the warfighter.

Editor’s note: Robotics Data, a strategic partner of Robotics World, has a free downloadable report on the unmanned ground vehicle market. Click here to download the report.