Lockheed Martin Successfully Completes Phase 2 Tests of Centralized Controller for Unmanned Air, Ground Systems
DALLAS, TX, 26-FEB-07 --
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has successfully conducted the second phase in a series of tests of a new centralized controller device for unmanned air and ground vehicles. During the tests, Lockheed Martin demonstrated control of three different unmanned systems with its second-generation prototype device.
“This Phase 2 demonstration represents our latest step forward in risk reduction for the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System Centralized Controller Device,” said Gene Holleque, director – Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The latest iteration of control device design allowed us to experiment with combinations of features, such as a touch screen joystick control. It also provided the opportunity to evaluate the configuration and placement of the controls for ease of use, and to explore the packaging issues inherent in integrating the necessary capability into a single small, lightweight device.”
The centralized controller prototype developed by Lockheed Martin is manufactured by Esterline Mason Controls. It incorporates a touch screen, hand grips and several switches accommodating diverse control schemes and system operational requirements.
The unmanned systems tested in Phase 2 included the iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT) PackBot® small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV); the Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) unmanned air vehicle and a Lockheed Martin medium-size UGV demonstrator. The Phase 2 demonstration followed the successful December 2006 Phase 1 demonstration in which two additional unmanned robotic systems were tested. In total, five different unmanned systems have been successfully tested during the prototype centralized controller demonstration.
“Controlling multiple systems represents a challenging integration problem,” Holleque said. “By building this prototype and having a number of operators test the control of various ground and aerial unmanned platforms, Lockheed Martin has gained a much better understanding of what it takes to design a device that meets the Army’s requirements.”
Different radio links were demonstrated in conjunction with the centralized controller, including UHF, L-band and S-band IEEE 802.11b. The demonstration utilized the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems message protocol to communicate with the Lockheed Martin UGV and the iRobot PackBot. The company utilized its Human Robotic Interface software when controlling the Lockheed Martin UGV and iRobot PackBot. The test also demonstrated the centralized controller’s ability to display real-time video on its LCD touch screen down-linked from a camera on the Honeywell MAV, as well as MAV location data on a digital satellite image of the area around the test site displayed with FalconView.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.s