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GCN : August 2014
CASE STUDY AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES In its search for ways to most effectively employ autonomous vehicles on mili- tary bases, a team led by the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is put- ting its primary focus on the process rather than the product. TARDEC's Autonomous Robotics for In- stallation and Base Operations (ARIBO) is a series of pilot programs using federal installations and universities as test beds for developing guidelines for operating au- tonomous vehicles in public environments. "One of the challenges in robotics is user acceptance and fully understanding how to implement the technology in a way that realizes its full value," said Paul Rog- ers, director of TARDEC. "So ARIBO was based on what we call 'living laboratories.' It provides a forum where we can bring the technology into an environment where it actually applies, and the end-user gets to use the technology." According to Rogers, the living labora- tories are as helpful to the technology de- velopers as they are to users. "Both parties are learning," he said. "The technology- based people are learning where the tech- nology has its shortcomings and where to increase capabilities, and the end users get to understand how it can change the way they do their work." At the same time, ARIBO is not focused on any specific technologies. Instead, the series of pilots will be used to test different vehicles and different sets of sensors em- ployed in different service scenarios. The first pilot -- in which two autono- mous shuttles are being used to transport people at Stanford University -- launched in April. Pilots are also scheduled for West Point in July and at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in September. Additional pilots at Fort Leonard Wood, Tampa, Medical City Orlando, Greenville, S.C., and a few others have not yet been assigned firm start dates. According to Rogers, the teams will be measuring a variety of factors, including vehicle reliability, operational efficiency, safety and other technical factors. These factors will be combined with user expe- riences to define guidelines for future de- ployments. MOVING PEOPLE The Stanford University pilot is designed to move people from remote parking loca- tions to their jobs or classrooms. This pilot, like the one at West Point, will use a commercially available autono- mous vehicle -- the Navia, made by Induct Mobility Solutions of France. The Navia comes fully loaded with Induct's package of location sensors and guidance systems. Geolocation is provid- ed by a combination of GPS, accelerome- ters and gyroscopes that -- once processed by the onboard software -- allow the Na- via to determine its current position and route. The Navia also relies on a set of four Li- DAR units to detect obstacles -- including people -- in its path. The LiDAR devices have a range of 200 yards and are accu- Federal installations and universities become test beds for autonomous vehicle applications in public environments Army turns to 'living lab' to test robotics BY PATRICK MARSHALL 26 GCN AUGUST 2014 • GCN.COM When the Navia is first used at a site, an operator takes the vehicle on its routes so it can generate maps of the site. After that, the vehicle compares its location with the map.