RSJPO – Tactical Robot Controller

NCMS Project #: 140467

Problem: Over the last two years, the Robotic Systems Joint Program Office (RS JPO) has led an effort in concert with private industry to define interoperability standards for robotic systems in an Interoperability Profile (IOP).

Control of multiple and diverse robots requires a flexible but standardized interface architecture, open enough to allow all developers to accommodate the system requirements.

Packaging this flexibility within a minimal weight allowance and meeting environmental, logistic, and usability requirements for all remote battalion and below systems presents a challenge and risk to all future Marine Corps robotics programs.

Benefit: Demonstrate and validate an architecture and specification for an Interoperable Interface for ground robotics.

Technology providers participating in this project will have an advantage in near-term acquisition cycles.

Standard, interoperable interfaces make integration easier and offer an opportunity for tech providers in different segments of the market to collaborate, thereby offering a more complete joint solution.

Solution/Approach: This technology demonstration project intends to seek innovative approaches to delivering an open development architecture and interface specification as well as lightweight, user-friendly warfighter interface in a single modular control unit capable of controlling multiple diverse systems.

It is not intended to be a ground up build of components, but rather the development of architectural design and interface requirements for a Tactical Robotic Controller (TRC) building upon controller design initiated by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL).  A separate technology effort to demonstrate design possibilities for a Marine Squad Robot (MSR) compliant with the same IOP is being simultaneously undertaken. These two efforts should allow total system interoperability between OCU and robots.

The technology demonstration effort is scoped down to include only the necessary interfaces and capabilities for control of two small robots (20 pounds or less) of different manufacture.  The scope will include developing hardware, software, and radio systems to interface with these two small robotic systems somewhat representative of the MSR.  The project shall be primarily focused on collaboratively refining and developing common interfaces on a functional operator control unit.  In addition, information assurance vulnerabilities will be explored in order to anticipate issues.

Impact on Warfighter: Lightweight, multiple ground and aerial robot controllers.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army (Robot Systems Joint Program Office)

Industry Participation:

  • QinetiQ North America
  • NCMS

Final Report