Unmanned off-roader goes on show
MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Association, has unveiled an upgraded autonomous vehicle platform, building on the experience gained from taking part in the UK's MOD Grand Challenge - a competition for unmanned systems that can detect and report on military threats in an urban environment.
The new vehicle, MACE-II, was on show at the DVD2008 military trade show alongside the original MACE (MIRA Autonomous Control Engineering), which will compete in the Grand Challenge final in August.
MACE is a fully autonomous, all-terrain platform. It has a four- wheel drive, four-wheel steer chassis, with a series hybrid powertrain that can carry (and power) a 300kg payload.
A distinctive feature is MACE’s intelligent power management system. The vehicle learns how much energy it requires to travel between two points and uses this data to project the amount of energy required to perform a given task. Later it compares the actual energy used with its projections. This information can be communicated to other similar machines for local tactical benefits.
MACE-II is essentially a platform for which customers can specify their own requirements, but it can travel faster than MACE - potentially up to 83mph (130km/h) with appropriate gearing - carry a heavier payload and perform better off-road.
Image: Mace-II at DVD2008