Posts Tagged Army

Army scientists improve early bio-threat detection

The Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, or JUPITR, provides unique biological detection capabilities for stronger biosurveillance capabilities on the Korean peninsula. (U.S. Army photo)

The Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, or JUPITR, provides unique biological detection capabilities for stronger biosurveillance capabilities on the Korean peninsula. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 12, 2015) — Army researchers are looking at novel ways to test the latest technologies, including a systems-approach to sensor installation and compatibility.

Advanced sensor technology is making its way into the hands of Soldiers through the Distance Detection Devices, or D3 program. Army scientists and engineers from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, work with Soldiers and other end-users and provide the most effective handheld biological detectors needed for a given mission.

“Handheld biological detection is critical for warfighters today and in the future,” said Janet Betters, ECBC’s D3 lead. “These users are out in the field, and away from the laboratories. They need to be able to tell if they are in danger or not, and quickly.”

The D3 program is part of the broader Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Reduction Advanced Technology Demonstration program, known as JUPITR ATD. The multi-year program provides the Republic of Korea and others in the Asia-Pacific region with improved biosurveillance capabilities.

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Sensors move Army closer to Common Operating Environment

Army researchers say dynamic discovery will improve situational awareness by enabling the Soldier to query different sensors as he or she moves through an area. (U.S. Army illustration)

Army researchers say dynamic discovery will improve situational awareness by enabling the Soldier to query different sensors as he or she moves through an area. (U.S. Army illustration)

By Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public Affairs

The Army envisions a future where sensors dynamically interact with each other while sharing information with Soldiers. Its researchers are now one step closer to enabling this common operating environment through the development of a foundational software architecture.

The Integrated Sensor Architecture establishes standards that bring together sensors within an area of operation so they can talk without requiring physical integration.

“You have this fundamental architecture enabling sensors to not only recognize the systems they want to interact with, but to also broker the information exchanges,” said Joe Durek, deputy director for the Modeling and Simulation Division of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate.

As Army researchers and engineers develop ISA, they hope to put together fundamental interoperability so future sensors can come online to a network, register and communicate its capabilities to the network and other assets and sensors on the network can subscribe to the types of information they need.

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Natick researchers integrate Soldier sensors

Natick researcher Dr. David Darkow is working to bring Full Motion Video sensing sources to the Nett Warrior System. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Natick researcher Dr. David Darkow is working to bring Full Motion Video sensing sources to the Nett Warrior System. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

By Jeff Sisto, NSRDEC Public Affairs

To the modern dismounted warfighter, the saying “knowledge is power” is true, especially when making quick decisions based on limited information.

Scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, are working hard to make information assets a fundamental component of the Soldier’s kit.

“The ability to collect, process and share battlefield information can greatly improve the chances of mission success and troop survival,” said Dr. David Darkow, the Mission Information team leader with NSRDEC’s Warfighter Directorate.

Army researchers are developing a fully-integrated, mobile platform that provides dismounted Soldiers at the squad level with organic and shared sensor information to enhance situational awareness on the battlefield.

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Virtual Roundtable: Sensors

In this virtual roundtable discussion, we sit down with three of the Army’s top minds who are the driving force behind advanced sensors research. Dr. Philip Perconti (left) from ARL is director of ARL’s Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate at Adelphi, Maryland. He is responsible for leading and transitioning the Army’s primary basic and applied research programs in sensors, electronics, signal processing and power and energy component technologies. Dr. Donald A. Reago Jr., (center) is director of CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He is responsible for planning and executing the Army's applied and advanced science and technology investments in Electro-Optical/Infrared and Countermine/ Counter-Improvised Explosive Device sensors and signal processing and for leading the DoD Sensors Community of Interest, which informs the sensor development strategy for the entire U.S. military. Dr. Michael S. Richman (right) is AMRDEC’s director of Missile Development Division at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He is responsible for the execution of all missile science and technology basic research, applied research and advanced technology development programs.

Dr. Philip Perconti (left) from ARL is director of ARL’s Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate at Adelphi, Maryland. He is responsible for leading and transitioning the Army’s primary basic and applied research programs in sensors, electronics, signal processing and power and energy component technologies. Dr. Donald A. Reago Jr., (center) is director of CERDEC’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He is responsible for planning and executing the Army’s applied and advanced science and technology investments in Electro-Optical/Infrared and Countermine/ Counter-Improvised Explosive Device sensors and signal processing and for leading the DoD Sensors Community of Interest, which informs the sensor development strategy for the entire U.S. military. Dr. Michael S. Richman (right) is AMRDEC’s director of Missile Development Division at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He is responsible for the execution of all missile science and technology basic research, applied research and advanced technology development programs.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command feeds the technology pipeline from concept to prototypes with more than 11,000 scientists, researchers and engineers in its six centers and the Army Research Laboratory collaborating and coordinating across many disciplines.

In this virtual roundtable discussion, we sit down with three of the Army’s top minds who are the driving force behind advanced sensors research.

ARL is the Army’s corporate lab, which provides basic and applied research for materiel technology to support the Soldier.

The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, develops and engineers the technologies for mission command and intelligence, as well as applications and networks designed to connect and protect the Soldier.

The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC, provides RD&E technology and services for aviation and missile. AMRDEC engineers focus on game-changing technologies to detect and destroy threats; enhance performance, lethality, survivability and reliability of aviation and missile systems.

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Commentary: Army sensors research

EDCG-Column-header

At the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, we understand how science and technology bring the power of American innovation to everything we do. I am proud that RDECOM researchers, engineers and support personnel provide our nation, both at home and abroad, the technology and capabilities to win anywhere, anytime.

The successful efforts of the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center workforce using their technical skills and knowledge to design and build the Field Hydrolysis Disposal System, and then deploying with it to destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile, is an example of American innovation.

In the January/February 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine, we hope to highlight how sensors are integrating into military gear and vehicles in ways that will empower, unburden and protect our Soldiers.

Greater situational awareness leads to improved threat detection in most battlefield environments. Future smart sensors will give us a decisive edge.

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Lightweight antenna increases Army agility

Ground to Air Transmit and Receive Inflatable Satellite Antennas are increasing agility and expeditionary nature of U.S. forces. (U.S. Army photo)

Ground to Air Transmit and Receive Inflatable Satellite Antennas are increasing agility and expeditionary nature of U.S. forces. (U.S. Army photo)

By Amy Walker, PEO C3T

Inflatable ground satellite antennas are aiding in the expeditionary nature of U.S. and coalition forces, enabling them to achieve high-bandwidth network connectivity anywhere in the world from small deployable packages.

“Many of the conventional satellite terminals previously fielded aren’t suitable for some of the more agile transportation requirements of today’s deployed Joint Forces,” said Lt. Col. Leonard Newman, Army product manager for Satellite Communications, which is assigned to Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, known as WIN-T. “The inflatable satellite antenna is transforming how Special Operations forces and now airborne and other conventional forces deploy high-bandwidth SATCOM around the world.”

Future Joint contingencies and support operations are expected to require rapid deployment of smaller sized elements to a wide variety of austere environments, with Soldiers needing to fight on arrival. The lightweight, easily transportable Ground to Air Transmit and Receive, or GATR, inflatable antenna reduces size, weight and power requirements over current capability, enabling smaller units to quickly deploy anywhere in the world and achieve network connectivity. The antenna can connect Soldiers in remote locations to the Army’s tactical communication WIN-T network backbone, as well as support other services and first responders.

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Sensing the Future

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

Sensors are everywhere in today’s technology-driven world. There are sensors in traffic lights, vehicles and smartphones.

Sensors in military applications gather data that U.S. Army researchers hope will give Soldiers the decisive edge.

This technology has broad application across the Army. Medical researchers are investigating how physiological sensors may help Soldiers achieve “superior performance on battlefields of the future,” according to Lt. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick. Caravalho led a panel discussion at the Association of the United States Army’s Medical Hot Topics Forum, Sept. 10, 2014.

Soldiers of 2025 and beyond may wear sensors to help detect and prevent threats such as dehydration, elevated blood pressure and cognitive delays from lack of sleep, Caravalho said. Sensors might also detect chemical exposure or extreme environments.

Karen O’Connor, Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence portfolio director for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said sensor research exists in all of the portfolios.

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Sensor Technology: Engineers find keys to autonomous future

Sensors, and the interactive connectivity they provide the user, are a crucial component to providing the most intelligent ground vehicle systems that can perform under diverse environmental and road conditions anywhere in the world. (U.S. Army photo by Amanda Dunford)

Sensors, and the interactive connectivity they provide the user, are a crucial component to providing the most intelligent ground vehicle systems that can perform under diverse environmental and road conditions anywhere in the world. (U.S. Army photo by Amanda Dunford)

By Matt December, TARDEC Public Affairs

Sensors are making the Army’s ground vehicle fleet more intelligent by providing a safer, more agile operating environment for American Soldiers.

Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, are seeking advancements in autonomy-enabled systems and intelligent mobility.

“Sensors, and the interactive connectivity they provide the user, are a crucial component to providing the most intelligent vehicles capable of performing under diverse environmental conditions anywhere in the world,” said Jeremy Gray, TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics research scientist. “To get to where the Army needs to be, sensors must provide performance input that can be calculated, analyzed and lead to vehicle actuation in fewer than 60 milliseconds.”

Army engineers are researching and designing unique high-speed sensors that can be embedded into vehicle platforms and/or vehicle tires and wheels.

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Biosensors: Lab seeks to replace antibodies

Postdoctoral fellows have been working with biotechnology experts at U.S. Army Research Laboratory for more than two years on a project, Peptide Catalyzed Capture Agent that allows them to perform applied research under the Institute for Biotechnology research team. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

Postdoctoral fellows have been working with biotechnology experts at U.S. Army Research Laboratory for more than two years on a project, Peptide Catalyzed Capture Agent that allows them to perform applied research under the Institute for Biotechnology research team. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs

Just as the human immune system deploys antibodies to destroy bacteria that have infiltrated the body to cause harm, Army scientists may deploy biosensors to detect harmful microorganisms.

Scientists who specialize in biosensing at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Adelphi, Maryland, want to mimic the behavior of antibodies by using alternative, artificial peptide material to detect harmful particles that could threaten Soldiers.

Peptides are the building blocks of the natural world, said Dr. Dimitra Stratis-Cullum, who started the program at the laboratory about 10 years ago.

Waves of antibodies are at work in the human body looking for tiny single-celled organisms called bacteria. These antibodies can also sense viruses, which are even smaller than bacteria.

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Sensors keep the enemy in sight

A 3rd Infantry Regiment Soldier aims his weapon using the Thermal Weapon Sight, or TWS. (U.S. Army photo)

A 3rd Infantry Regiment Soldier aims his weapon using the Thermal Weapon Sight, or TWS. (U.S. Army photo)

PEO Soldier Public Affairs

New technology is spawning better sensors and helping the Army of today to dominate the battlefield of tomorrow.

“Our mission is to provide the best equipment for our Soldiers,” said Col. Michael E. Sloane, Project Manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers, or PM SSL. “Success means enabling our Soldiers to maintain combat overmatch on any battlefield anywhere on the globe.”

PM SSL is part of the Program Executive Office Soldier, and has the responsibility for getting high-tech sensors and lasers into the hands of American troops. Enablers, such as the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle, known as the ENVG, Thermal Weapon Sight, known as TWS and Laser Target Locator, or LTL, make it possible for Soldiers to “own their environment” day or night, and through obscurants, Sloane said.

“With these tools, Soldiers can acquire and engage targets well before our adversaries can gain the advantage,” he said.

The ENVG I was the first helmet-mounted fused (image intensification and thermal image) goggle, overlaying thermal imagery over traditional night vision into a single display for the Soldier.

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Own the Weather: Flying in Degraded Visual Environments

Military aircraft are vulnerable in conditions of degraded visibility due to pilots’ inability to discern obstacles, cables, or other aircraft during flight or while landing. (Photo illustration courtesy DARPA)

Military aircraft are vulnerable in conditions of degraded visibility due to pilots’ inability to discern obstacles, cables, or other aircraft during flight or while landing. (Photo illustration courtesy DARPA)

By Bill Crawford, AMRDEC Public Affairs

Army researchers are going after solutions to help aircraft crews navigate in degraded visual environments, where weather, obscurants or obstacles may prove hazardous and even lethal.

Operations in degraded visual environments, known as DVE, are the primary contributing factor to a vast majority of Army aviation mishaps over the last decade: 80-percent of rotorcraft losses in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were due to “combat non-hostile or non-combat factors” including DVE, according to U.S. Army Program Executive Office Aviation officials.

At the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, the Army advances and implements technologies to address DVE safety issues and operational limitations.

“Reduced visibility of potentially varying degree, wherein situational awareness and aircraft control cannot be maintained as comprehensively as they are in normal visual meteorological conditions and can potentially be lost,” said Todd Dellert, an experimental test pilot and Acting Project Director, DVE Mitigation, or DVE-M.

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Picatinny engineers use advanced sensor technologies

U.S. Army Pfc. Gregory Conway, left, prepares to drop a mortar into the tube during a live-fire training exercise at a range several miles north of Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2009. Conway is an indirect fire infantryman assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division's Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Jared N. Gehmann)

U.S. Army Pfc. Gregory Conway, left, prepares to drop a mortar into the tube during a live-fire training exercise at a range several miles north of Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2009. Conway is an indirect fire infantryman assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Jared N. Gehmann)

By Eric Kowal, ARDEC Public Affairs

By integrating many small sensors into light mortar systems, Picatinny engineers are developing a technology for use on all U.S. military mortar systems to give Soldiers faster, more accurate mortar fire.

The Weaponized Universal Lightweight Fire-Control, known as WULF, couples many small sensors together to create a robust, lightweight pointing device that will increase mortar fire.

How much faster?

An average gun crew is expected to have the 81mm system aimed on target from a dismantled state in four minutes 30 seconds. With WULF, the setup time for the 81mm mortar systems is cut to one minute. The time between shots is reduced from 20 seconds to one or two seconds, increasing the repeatability of shots.

Fire control involves a computer, a pointing device, and gunner’s display to assist in aiming the weapon system.

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Future of Army Sensors

Mary J. Miller Interview

Army science and technology officials are seeking ways to improve situational awareness, mobility, lethality and the maintainability and effectiveness of Army systems.

Advanced sensors will help meet future challenges, according to Mary J. Miller, who serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Miller gave the featured interview for the January/February 2015 Army Technology Magazine, which discusses sensors research.

Army Technology Magazine: What is the Army’s vision for sensors research?

Mary J. Miller: From my perspective, I think that Army S&T is looking at a broad number of approaches for what sensor capabilities we will need to meet future challenges. We’re looking to improve situational awareness, mobility, lethality and even improve the maintainability and effectiveness of our systems.

To achieve these capabilities, we are conducting research in areas such as networked Soldier helmet sensors. For mobility, we have a large effort in establishing Degraded Visual Environment capabilities that will ensure our rotorcraft can fly in any environment such as brownout, snow or just low-light levels. We’re also looking at ways to increase lethality. We just recently transitioned the third generation FLIR [short for Forward Looking Infrared], to the Program Executive Office for Intelligence Electronic Warfare and Sensors. This system gives us the ability to do identification at longer ranges than we have ever before. Identification is required for our rules of engagement in the Army. This is an example of a capability that was transitioned from the S&T community and has been very successful in early operational demonstrations.

Regarding maintainability and effectiveness, we’ve been researching sensors that can be put in the skins of platforms to understand the environment they’ve been in – measuring vibration, ballistic impact or even thermal cycling.  We can even determine battle damage assessment with embedded sensors. We put sensors in our missiles as well to better assess their status.  By understanding what they have experienced, we can determine what capacity they have going forward or whether they have been degraded.

Finally, sensors can enable better power management by telling us when we need to have more power in a particular sub-system and less in another. We can then divert energy to improve effectiveness overall.

Army Technology Magazine: What’s the value in this research? How does it empower Soldiers?

Miller: Sensors and situational awareness are the keys to our Soldiers being effective. I think we’ve all seen the reports that have come out of Afghanistan where unfortunately a majority of the engagements our Soldiers (at the squad and team level) had with the enemy is because they were surprised. That is a situation in which we do not want to put any of our Soldiers.  Holistically the work we have been doing in our sensor technology areas is to help ensure that never happens.

Whether the Soldier is dismounted in a squad fighting in Afghanistan, or is a helicopter pilot having to land and pick up Soldiers in an austere environment, or even a ground platform driver traveling unfamiliar roads at night, we want to provide all of these Soldiers the best capabilities that we can — the capability to conduct their mission with full situational awareness in any situation.

Army Technology Magazine: In realizing the Army’s vision of the future, how critical are S&T investments?

Miller: The Chief of Staff of the Army and the Secretary of the Army have looked at science and technology (S&T) and our portfolios of investments as the enablers for the future.

The Army has been facing significant fiscal challenges and we have had to make tough trades between operational readiness, force structure and modernization. Unfortunately given those three, modernization is the one that suffers.

Since 2012, our modernization accounts have gone down about 40 percent, and that is significant. Modernization accounts are what create the future capability for the Army.  The Army stood up and decided to protect its investments in the science and technology world. Why? Because the Army is now looking to us [the S&T Enterprise] to underpin what will become future capability for the Soldier. They have expanded our mission. They’ve challenged us to go farther than we’ve gone before, to develop prototypes of new capabilities and do experimentation in conjunction with Soldiers to ensure that’s what the Army needs. We’re doing this hand-in-hand with our Training and Doctrine Command. It’s a collaborative effort where we are aligned more than ever with our program executive offices, with TRADOC — our requirements team — and also the S&T community, to make sure we are doing the right things for the Army of the future.

Army Technology Magazine: What about partnerships between Army S&T, industry and academia?

Miller: We need to do more. As our budget reduces, we have to leverage other’s technology development. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a challenge because frankly we don’t do that very well. It’s an opportunity because there are folks out there with good ideas that we should be trying to leverage. We do better with academia because our labs are experienced in working with basic and applied research and we have many opportunities to engage with Universities. If you listen to our Defense Acquisition Executive, Mr. Kendall, and read Better Buying Power 3.0, he talks about the need to better leverage Industry IR&D, or Independent Research and Development, investments. Those are investments that industry makes in what they see as the next technology breakthroughs. Industry focuses their R&D investments on those technologies they believe will provide future returns.  By informing industry of Army needs, we hope to encourage industry to align the IR&D to meet these needs. I think there is more to be done there to align and leverage as much as we can out of industry.

It’s not just industry and academia [that we need to leverage]. It’s also our foreign partners as well. From my office, in conjunction with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation (who is responsible for international engagement and foreign military sales), we’ve done a more strategic outreach to our partner nations to figure out the technologies that are out there in our global economy. Other nations may have a slight edge on us or a different approach in certain technology areas. We hope to leverage their expertise by making strategic alliances. Very often in the past our international engagements were bottom-up driven. Our laboratory experts would be talking with fellow foreign laboratory experts and they would come up with a project they wanted to do together. The compliment to this approach is where we are making alliances that are strategically driven — where we go out and target technology areas where we know foreign countries have expertise and bring that expertise in to help the Army go forward.

Army Technology Magazine: What’s your message to Army researchers and engineers?

Miller: I am optimistic about the future. Those of us that have been in the Army for awhile know that we always have budget downfalls and then increases. It’s always going to be a roller coaster ride, but at the end of the day the reason we work for the Army is that there are some unique challenges and opportunities for our researchers.

The Army is really relying on our scientists and engineers throughout the S&T Enterprise to step into the breach and basically plot what will be the future for the Army. We are being asked to stand up and deliver, and I fully expect that we will. I have yet to see us fail at being able to solve a problem.

We have some of the world’s best scientists and engineers here within the Army and the Department of Defense dedicated to the work they do in helping the Soldier. It is so clear that the Soldier is our customer. We have a good track record of bringing folks in from the outside, not for the pay, not for the great hours, but because we have such a unique problem and the ability to help and to make a difference.

It is a critical role that the S&T Enterprise plays. As I said, the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army have protected the S&T community through the last couple of years of budget downsizing for this very reason. They see us as a key enabler of the future going forward.

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Editor’s note: Since February 2013, Mary J. Miller has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. She is responsible for the entirety of Army research and technology programs, spanning 16 laboratories and research, development and engineering Centers, with more than 12,000 scientists and engineers and a yearly budget of more than $2 billion dedicated to empowering, unburdening and protecting Soldiers. She earned an Army Research and Development Achievement Award in 1988 for her technical achievement in the “Development of Nonlinear Materials for Sensor Protection.” She has been awarded four patents for sensor protection designs, with two additional patents pending. Miller has published more than 50 papers and has addressed over 30 major commands and international groups with technical presentations. She holds master of science degrees in business administration from the University of Tennessee and in electrical engineering, electro-physics from the George Washington University. Her undergraduate degree is a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle. The Army selected her for the Senior Executive Service in August 2005.

This article appears in the January/February 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine, which focuses on sensors research. The magazine is available as an electronic download, or print publication. The magazine is an authorized, unofficial publication published under Army Regulation 360-1, for all members of the Department of Defense and the general public.

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Army sensors research enables future capabilities

Commentary by Jyuji Hewitt

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 1, 2015) — Army scientists and engineers are advancing sensors research in hopes of giving future Soldiers enhanced situational awareness.

Sensor technology has broad application across the Army. Medical researchers are investigating how physiological sensors may help Soldiers achieve superior performance on battlefields of the future. Soldiers of 2025 and beyond may wear sensors to help detect and prevent threats such as dehydration, elevated blood pressure and cognitive delays from lack of sleep.

“I think that Army S&T is looking at a broad number of approaches for what sensor capabilities we will need to meet future challenges,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology Mary J. Miller in an interview with Army Technology Magazine. “We’re looking to improve situational awareness, mobility, lethality and even improve the maintainability and effectiveness of our systems.”

Miller is the featured interview for the January-February 2015 issue of the publication, which focuses on the future of Army sensors.

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Leading Army researcher: Future of autonomous vehicles

During a robotics demonstration at Fort Benning, Georgia, Aug. 7, 2014, Soldiers emerge from the tree line and remove ammunition and supplies from the autonomous unmanned Squad Mission Support System, or SMSS.

During a robotics demonstration at Fort Benning, Georgia, Aug. 7, 2014, Soldiers emerge from the tree line and remove ammunition and supplies from the autonomous unmanned Squad Mission Support System, or SMSS.

Army Technology Magazine interviewed Dr. Paul D. Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan. Rogers provides executive management to deliver advanced technology solutions for all Department of Defense ground systems and combat support equipment.

Army Technology: Over the past 10 years, robotics, or autonomy-enabled systems, have gone from a novelty to an asset among Soldiers. What is the current view of autonomy-enabled systems in the field?

Rogers: One of the greatest threats to our servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the roadside bomb. For more than a decade of war, we’ve witnessed how unmanned systems have been effective at keeping our Soldiers at safe distances from this danger. As we plan for the future, we’ve determined that advanced autonomy-enabled technologies will play an even greater role in keeping our Soldiers safe. Not by replacing them, but by providing a continuum of capabilities that will augment and enable them, while filling some of the Army’s most challenging capability gaps.

We’ve put a lot of work into developing a 30-year ground vehicle strategy, and user understanding and acceptance of autonomy-enabled technologies is vital for the Army to realize the strategy’s full value. With today’s fast-paced operational tempo, the Army experiences a lot of accidents due to driver inattentiveness, external distractions and fatigue. In the short term, the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System [AMAS] technology, successfully demonstrated several times this year by TARDEC and Lockheed Martin, can solve these problems by providing our drivers with viable options, up to and including: conducting manned or optionally-manned missions; utilizing a suite of driver-assist features, such as adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigating braking, lane-keeping assist, electronic stability and rollover warnings; or operating in the fully autonomous mode.

The AMAS kit can be installed on many military ground vehicle platforms, providing driver assist safety enhancements that are easily understood by the drivers. Our goal is to ease the cognitive and/or physical burden placed on our Soldiers, and augment human performance to better enable mission accomplishment. Guided by the 30-Year Ground Vehicle Strategy, we will continue to integrate more scalable autonomy-enabled features into our ground vehicle systems in the future.

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Army researchers envision future robots

 

Army Technology Magazine focuses on robotics and autonomous vehicle research in the November-December 2014 issue.

Army Technology Magazine focuses on robotics and autonomous vehicle research in the November-December 2014 issue.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 3, 2014) — The U.S. Army is investing in robotics research and development with a vision of increasing autonomy.

“As we plan for the future, we’ve determined that advanced autonomy-enabled technologies will play an even greater role in keeping our Soldiers safe,” said Dr. Paul D. Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center at the Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Michigan.

In the November/December 2014 issue of Army Technology Magazine, Rogers outlines the future of autonomous vehicles research and development. His aim is not to replace Soldiers, but provide a “continuum of capabilities that will augment and enable them, while filling some of the Army’s most challenging capability gaps.”

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Autonomy-enabled technology provides a pathway to the future

A convoy of Army trucks gets a test at Fort Hood, Texas. Testers were sometimes in the driver seats, but the vehicles operated autonomously. (U.S. Army photo)

A convoy of Army trucks gets a test at Fort Hood, Texas. Testers were sometimes in the driver seats, but the vehicles operated autonomously. (U.S. Army photo)

By Bruce J. Huffman, TARDEC Public Affairs

Army engineers from the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, are developing technology solutions for autonomy-enabled systems.

TARDEC and an industry partner, Lockheed Martin, demonstrated the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System or AMAS at Fort Hood, Texas in January 2014.

Researchers transformed ordinary trucks from the Army’s current vehicle fleet into optionally-manned vehicles, offering drivers new safety features and additional capabilities that never existed until now.

“These systems are designed, not to replace warfighters, but to help unburden them and augment their capabilities,” said Bernard Theisen, TARDEC program manager for AMAS.

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Soldiers of the future will generate their own power

A Soldier conducts dismounted maneuvers wearing Lightning Pack's Rucksack Harvester, Bionic Power's Knee Harvester and MC-10's photovoltaic, or PV, Solar Panel Harvester during an energy harvesting technology demonstration held at Ft. Devens, Mass. by the Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

A Soldier conducts dismounted maneuvers wearing Lightning Pack’s Rucksack Harvester, Bionic Power’s Knee Harvester and MC-10′s photovoltaic, or PV, Solar Panel Harvester during an energy harvesting technology demonstration held at Ft. Devens, Mass. by the Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

By Jeff Sisto, NSRDEC Public Affairs

Wearable technologies may provide U.S. Soldiers with on-the-move, portable energy and reduce the weight of gear they carry into combat.

Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are developing Soldier-borne energy harvesting technologies.

During the Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment, or MFIX, a combined, multi-phase joint training exercise held in September 2014 at Fort Benning, Georgia, researchers tested prototype energy harvesting technology solutions.

“My initial impression is that they fulfill a need for instant power generation on long-range missions when displaced from traditional resupply methods,” said Sgt. 1st Class Arthur H. Jones, an infantryman with the Maneuver Center of Excellence who participated in the demonstration.

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RDECOM is the Army’s autonomous technology enabler

TARDEC Chief Engineer and Senior Technology Expert for Robotics Dr. Greg Hudas (standing) and TARDEC research scientist Jeremy Gray test circuit boards from a Packbot robot being completely refurbished at the center’s Small Robots Laboratory.  As an STE, Hudas' principle focus is software development and autonomous controller device technology, both of which are being developed at TARDEC for integration into the new fleet of PackBot robots. (U.S. Army photo by Amanda Dunford)

TARDEC Chief Engineer and Senior Technology Expert for Robotics Dr. Greg Hudas (standing) and TARDEC research scientist Jeremy Gray test circuit boards from a Packbot robot being completely refurbished at the center’s Small Robots Laboratory.  As an STE, Hudas’ principle focus is software development and autonomous controller device technology, both of which are being developed at TARDEC for integration into the new fleet of PackBot robots. (U.S. Army photo by Amanda Dunford)

by Dr. Gregory R. Hudas, TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics chief engineer

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command is synergizing research centers and labs under its command to create a robotics community that will enhance the Army’s ability to employ autonomy-enabled vehicle technologies to support the Soldier in every aspect of their operational life.

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Ground Vehicle Robotics division is spearheading that initiative for the RDECOM community to create a Robotics Community of Practice, known as the CoP. The new Robotics CoP will speak with one voice coming from RDECOM to provide a concise message to the Army and Department of Defense customers we support. It’s all about removing redundancy across programs and collaborating a lot more closely as an enterprise.

The community charter, which is in the early development stages, will eventually help lay out the roles and responsibilities for each research, development and engineering center, whether that is by enabling autonomy, platforms, capabilities or usage. The CoP will also strive to achieve critical missions that regularly demonstrate evolutionary technology advancements, provide long-term data collection, promote open architecture across all stakeholder communities and strengthen those stakeholder partnerships. RDECOM needs the CoP to seek collaboration with key partners from academia, industry and the other service branches and federal laboratories to develop these autonomy-enabled vehicle technologies, and then demonstrate those systems, subsystems and capabilities to the user community ― our Soldiers and Marines. Our collaborative partnerships are crucial for strengthening governance, standards and collective strategy moving forward.

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Seeking the ethical robot

Dr. Ronald Arkin speaks to robotics researchers about developing ethical systems Sept. 10, 2014, at a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Colloquium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army photo by Doug Lafon)

Dr. Ronald Arkin speaks to robotics researchers about developing ethical systems Sept. 10, 2014, at a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Colloquium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army photo by Doug Lafon)

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

Scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory gathered Sept. 10, 2014 to discuss ethical robots.

Dr. Ronald C. Arkin, a professor from Georgia Tech, roboticist and author, challenged Army researchers to consider the implications of future autonomous robots.

“The bottom line for my talk here and elsewhere is concern for noncombatant casualties on the battlefield,” Arkin said. “I believe there is a fundamental responsibility as scientists and technologists to consider this problem. I do believe that we can, must and should apply this technology in this particular space.”

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