Oshkosh Truck Developing Second-Generation TerraMax™ Robotic Truck For Entrance In Pentagon’s $2 Million Grand Challenge
OSHKOSH, WIS. (October 21, 2004) – Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK], a leading manufacturer of specialty trucks and truck bodies, announced today it is developing a second-generation version of its self-navigating robotic TerraMax™ truck to compete in the Pentagon-sponsored $2 million 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The company will showcase the TerraMax robotic truck on Oct. 25 at the annual meeting for the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), where Oshkosh will display the vehicle and video footage of its capabilities.
By 2015, the Pentagon hopes that the application of autonomous military vehicles such as TerraMax will be able to help save the lives of military personnel who today are at risk when driving slow-moving supply convoys.
Late next year, the U.S. Department of Defense will sponsor its second Grand Challenge on October 8, 2005, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency, which is responsible for overseeing the development of advanced technology used by the military, is sponsoring the race to encourage the development of unmanned robotic vehicles that have the potential for use in military applications.
The TerraMax vehicle will try to traverse a rugged, 175-mile off-road course in the Mojave Desert. Based on sensor data, TerraMax must make its own decisions on route planning, obstacle avoidance and speed, without the aid of any human intervention once en route. During the next 12 months, Team TerraMax will be working to refine the technology, software and systems that will give the truck the necessary intelligence to successfully navigate the desert.
“Humans generally take for granted their ability to process a great deal of driving-related information subconsciously and simultaneously,” said Gary Schmiedel, Director of Advanced Products Engineering for Oshkosh Truck. “For computers, it’s not nearly as simple or effortless. Teaching a computer how to turn its head as it rounds a corner, evaluate a three-dimensional field of vision and determine the density of an oncoming object can be exceptionally difficult. Tasks that all seem very simple for humans can involve incredibly complex processes, making them very difficult to recreate on a computer.”
The platform for TerraMax is Oshkosh’s combat-proven Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). Originally built for the U.S. Marine Corps, the MTVR is equipped with breakthrough technology such as the Oshkosh TAK-4® independent suspension, Command Zone™ Advanced Electronics and “on-the-go” central tire inflation. Already a combat-proven workhorse used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has become the platform of choice for militaries worldwide. In the height of the conflict in Iraq, over 1,500 MTVRs were in action.
In 2004, TerraMax was one of only seven entries to complete the 1.3-mile qualifying course. The vehicle’s 1.2-mile run into the desert on race day went beyond expectations. To learn more about the TerraMax truck and its related technologies, visit the robotic vehicle home page at www.oshkoshtruck.com/darpa.
About Oshkosh Truck Corporation
Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK] is a leading manufacturer of specialty trucks and truck bodies for markets including: defense, fire and emergency, concrete placement and refuse hauling. Oshkosh Truck is a Fortune 1000 company with products marketed under the Oshkosh®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Geesink, Norba and Jerr-Dan® brand names. The company is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., and had annual sales of $1.9 billion in fiscal 2003. To learn more, visit the company’s Web site at www.oshkoshtruckcorporation.com.
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