Oshkosh Truck’s Unmanned Vehicle Qualifies for Pentagon’s $2 Million Desert Race
OSHKOSH, Wis. (Oct. 4, 2005) – Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK] and partners Rockwell Collins [NYSE: COL] and the University of Parma, Italy, announced that their robotic truck, TerraMax™, qualified late yesterday to compete in the $2 million DARPA Grand Challenge, a 150-mile race of unmanned vehicles across the Mojave Desert on Saturday, Oct. 8. TerraMax successfully completed all four scheduled runs of 2.2 and 2.9 mile qualifying obstacle courses at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“This is an unprecedented moment for Oshkosh Truck and our partners at Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “TerraMax has done very well in all of the qualifying events, and we believe its technology could someday be an enormous asset to our nation’s military.”
TerraMax is based on the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) truck platform built by Oshkosh Truck for the Marine Corps. It operates without a driver or remote controls, using a guidance system based on standard, yet ruggedized navigational computers, a sophisticated global positioning system, laser range-finders, and a synthetic vision system. It can carry more than seven tons off-road, making it the largest entry in the Grand Challenge race.
Team TerraMax is now headed to Primm, Nev., where the DARPA Grand Challenge will begin on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 a.m. EDT. The final field of 20 teams, whittled down from 195, will receive course coordinates just two hours before race time. The information will then be programmed into TerraMax before it heads to the starting line.
“To successfully compete in the Grand Challenge will require awesome off-road capability, a really rugged design and a fusion of software, laser, and synthetic vision systems,” said Don Verhoff, Oshkosh’s executive vice president of technology. “We’re confident in our technology and hopeful about our chances to win.”
The DARPA Grand Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense’s think tank for future technology, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). No vehicle successfully completed this race last year – the first year the race took place. This year’s race will be webcast live at www.grandchallenge.org.
The TerraMax Vehicle
The platform for TerraMax is Oshkosh’s combat-proven MTVR combat vehicle, which was originally designed for the U.S. Marine Corps to handle off-road terrain. The vehicle’s 6×6 design is equipped with independent suspension to make desert terrain easier to handle. Drive-by-wire technology allows computers to control the steering via a servo motor, an actuator to operate the brakes, and direct electronic control of the accelerator and transmission.
Five ruggedized computers control the main functions needed for TerraMax to drive and navigate itself. The computers run on specialized software that Rockwell Collins developed for map and route planning, driving, obstacle detection and avoidance, sensor data input and interpretation, and diagnostics. Sensing systems, including laser range finders and digital video cameras, provide the inputs that TerraMax needs to detect roadways and avoid obstacles.
In addition to team partners Oshkosh Truck, Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma, team TerraMax is sponsored by ArvinMeritor, Fastenal, Oxford Technologies, Parker Hannifin, Ricoh, Caterpillar, Landstar, Michelin, MCL Industries, TransPro and others. For more information, go to www.terramax.com.
About Rockwell Collins
Rockwell Collins [NYSE: COL] is a leader in the design, production and support of communications and aviation electronics solutions for government and commercial customers worldwide. Additional company information is available at www.rockwellcollins.com.
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®, Jerr-Dan®, CON-E-CO® and London® brand names. The company is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., and had annual sales of $2.3 billion in fiscal 2004. To learn more, visit the company’s web site at www.oshkoshtruckcorporation.com.
This press release contains statements that the company believes are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding the company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital spending and debt levels, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this press release, words such as the company “expects,” “intends,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” or “believes” and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the company’s control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, without limitation, risks related to reductions in government expenditures, the uncertainty of government contracts and the possibility that expected cost savings will not be achieved nor future plans realized. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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