DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, Mich: Soldiers spoke and the Army listened. Officials will debut a new device designed to combat the deadly threat of improvised explosive devices during a Florida conference later this month.
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s tank and automotive center will publicly display its newest technology for the first time at the National Defense Industry Association’s Ground Robotic Capabilities Conference and Exhibition March 16-18 in Miami, Fla.
The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center will display military robots in an industry-wide push for interoperability during the event. To highlight the theme “Dual Role of Robotics Technologies – Public and Private Sector,” the conference will bring warfighters, first responders, and government and industry technology professionals together to address increased responsiveness to user needs.
The center will introduce Tanglefoot, a device designed to be attached to more than 8,000 currently-fielded robots. Tanglefoot combines an interface kit, wire rake and mast to create a simple, low-cost, universal tool to assist the defeat of IEDs and route clearance.
Improvised explosive devices are the most deadly threats to United States and coalition forces today and are responsible for nearly two-thirds of causalities in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.
The conference’s focus includes how the best ideas from the military, automotive industry and NASA can be shared.
“The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center plans to take advantage of the conference to spur cooperation between government agencies and private partners,” said Dave Thomas, TARDEC Intelligent Ground Systems associate director. “This year, TARDEC will unveil a technology that was directly requested from our Warfighters as well as focus on how we can get the entire robotic community working together on communications challenges.”
The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve current force effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for the future force.
Army officials said the Tanglefoot initiative demonstrates the importance of collaborative efforts. “The teaming of TARDEC and the Robotics Systems Joint Project Office made this possible, said Maj. Chad Harris, assistant project manager for maneuver support systems.
“The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center rapidly developed and tested the device, then transferred it to us for fielding. This collaboration helps the warfighter get the best equipment he or she needs to be effective.”
At the show, TARDEC will also demonstrate how multiple robots can be operated by a single controller. While TARDEC will demonstrate this capacity with PackBot and Omni Directional Inspection System robots and an iPod Touch, an iPad – or similar device – will be leveraged to show this awesome capability and how diverse systems can work together to better optimize and integrate future technology.