Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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24 unmanned systems inside   April/May 2017 LAND GROUND VEHICLES   June/July 2017 Left: Cat 793F mining truck operating autonomously in Western Australia. Right: ASI's collision avoidance technology uses radar and LiDAR to visualize terrain and potential obstacles. Mobius then alerts operators and suggests a safe route around the obstacle. MAINTENANCE DATA ENABLES TRADE-OFFS A mong the day-to-day saving opportunities made possible by using unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are lower repair costs. "When you have intelligent data analytics streaming from all of the equipment, you have the ability to make your operations more effective," said Mel Torrie, president and CEO of Autonomous Solutions. "Every vehicle is running at the perfect speed, and that will maximize the equipment's life span. If you're operating at the perfect speed threshold your efficiencies dramatically improve." One of the most exciting aspects of UGV technology, Torrie said, is the ability for business owners to tune into productivity versus maintenance tradeoffs. Let's say the price of gold is high this week, so a mine pumps up its productivity 10 percent by increasing how fast its UGVs operate. The mine knows that boost in productivity means a 4% increase in maintenance costs, so the numbers show being more aggressive with the equipment is the right trade-off. ASI's automation technology is OEM agnostic and can be applied to any vehicle platform. Photos courtesy of Autonomous Solutions, Caterpillar, ASIRobotics and Seegrid. forestry land and to map archaeology sites. Adding LiDAR and high-precision GPS to these systems will enable them to handle much of the field work so archaeologists can focus on other tasks. One of Bos's colleagues is looking into how to use UGVs to create a power grid, he said. During a disaster, f irst responders could quickly set up their base of operations along with their power source using UGVs. The oil and gas industry also can benefit from UGVs, Ryzhenko said—an area he plans to get more involved with in the future. The ro- bots would work similarly to the ones designed for security, but come equipped with sensors that can detect natural gas leaks as well as hazardous materials. This would help prevent accidents, keeping employees safe. Construction is another industry that is starting to look toward UGVs, Torrie said. The specific applications would be similar to those at mining sites: moving materials, bull dozing, back hoeing, digging trenches and excavating. Moving Forward Before UGVs become more common place, Visscher and Scheib of ARGO agree custom- ers will have to see the value. A pay back mea- sured in 10 years is simply not acceptable; that pay back has to come in 2, 3 or 4 years—and that means getting the cost down. The LiDAR and high-quality 2-D and 3-D sensors that come with these vehicles are typically pretty expensive, but UGVs can benefit from the work being done to make these more affordable for autonomous consumer vehicles. If you look at where UAS were seven or eight years ago, that's where UGVs are today, Scheib said. The platforms are moving from hobby

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