Quantitative Methods in Defense and National Security 2007

Assessment of Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology in an Operational Context
Barry Bodt, (US Army Research Laboratory), babodt@arl.army.mil, and
Marshal Childers, (US Army Research Laboratory), marshal.childers@us.army.mil


Robotics is an important area of research in the defense and national security arena and is worthy of this conferences attention. Unmanned air, ground, sea, and subsurface systems are used or proposed as force multipliers for any number of military tasks, for example, logistics, force protection, reconnaissance, and assault. Whole organizations, such as the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International are dedicated to its pursuit.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) manages both basic and applied research programs focused on advanced perception, intelligence, and human-robot interaction. While the program was initially focused solely on autonomous mobility, the success achieved to date in autonomous navigation has led the Army to increase its focus to issues more closely associated with fielded systems, e.g., operator workload.

To examine the impact of technology upon operational issues, an experimental unmanned vehicle (XUV) was equipped with a live reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) capability. Where live targets were not readily available, target chips were simulated for random presentation. Beyond the RSTA technology, there are operator workload considerations. Although autonomous mobility has been achieved to a degree, maintenance of autonomous operations is still required when the XUV encounters certain situations. This remote handling takes time and competes with the time required to complete tasks for a RSTA mission. As the operator performs tasks in both work areas, man-machine interface must be assessed.

In this poster, we will provide an overview of what has been tried from an experiment and measurement standpoint to assess unmanned ground vehicle use in one operational context. Another round of experimentation is scheduled for 2007 to assess further advancements. We welcome any insight or suggestions the conference might offer in the areas of (1) workload assessment, (2) experimental design, or (3) measures of performance with regard to this program.

Take me back to the main conference page.