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Design and Development of Hardened Autonomy Sensors (Lidar and Radar)



OBJECTIVE: Provide affordable and reliable high resolution Lidar and/or Radar systems which are hardened to withstand military environments for improved autonomous capabilities. 

DESCRIPTION: Autonomous automated vehicles are the next evolution in transportation. Automated vehicles are equipped with multiple sensors (Lidar, radar, camera, etc.) enabling local awareness of their surroundings. A fully automated vehicle will unconditionally rely on its sensors readings to make short-term safety-related and long-term planning driving decisions. Sensors have to be robust and function under all roadway and environmental conditions. Autonomous vehicles can only work properly with accurate and reliable sensors. They are equipped with a multitude of sensors, using different physical properties (light, ultrasound, radio frequency, etc.), Global Navigation Satellite System and accurate road maps. Lidar and radars are primary sensors used for vehicle automation. The Army utilizes commercial-off-the-shelf sensors in programs including Expedited Leader Follower, Robotic Combat Vehicle, Autonomous Ground Resupply, and Combat Vehicle Robotics. However, as autonomy is added to tactical and combat platforms, there is a need to harden the sensors to not only withstand military environments such as weather, heavy dust, military shock and vibration, but also gunfire shock. Exposure to a gunfire shock environment has the potential for producing adverse effects on the sensors; potentially reducing or eliminating the platform’s autonomous capabilities after just one blast. This SBIR topic would implement design and analysis of hardening Lidar and/or radar under military conditions (hot/cold/humid/shock and vibration/abrasive dust) and conduct laboratory and/or live fire testing. The following specifications for hardening requirements: -Water and Dust Sealing: IP69 (the 9 designation is a recent addition to IEC 60529 -Electromagnetic Environmental Effects, per MIL-STD-461 CS101 and RS103. -Environmental requirements: Operate per MIL-STD-810G, Part Three, Climatic Design Types Cold to Hot, except for a minimum low temperature of -40F. -Impulse shock and blast over pressure will be provided. Additional requirements: Input power per MIL-STD-1275E Provide a means to clean any external interfaces critical to operation after contaminated with dust, water, or mud. The Impulse shock and blast over pressure requirements are not derived from a standard; they are based on measured data. The maximum charge we will use on XM1299A1 will be provided. 

PHASE I: Design a proof of concept prototype for an affordable, compact Lidar and/or Radar sensors that meets the specifications outlined in the description. Beyond the desired specs of Lidar and/or Radar sensors operating under military conditions (hot/cold/humid/shock and vibration/abrasive dust), these sensors need to function in a gunfire shock environment. This will provide greater functionality for autonomous system developers and designers. Delivered at the end of this phase will be a white paper outlining the proof of concept design and its feasibility. 

PHASE II: The concept prototype will have its design refined and then be developed and built for component level testing. Demonstration and technology evaluation will take place in a relevant laboratory environment or on a military ground vehicle system. Delivered at the end of the phase will be at least 3 units for government feasibility and integration testing. 

PHASE III: Mechanical packaging and integration of the solution into a vehicle will be achieved (TRL6) and technology transition will occur so the Lidar and/or Radar can be used on military autonomous ground vehicle applications. The Autonomous Ground Resupply Science and Technology Objective (AGR STO) would be a potential entry point for this sensor’s application. The hardening of the sensors will also be an attractive feature for the automotive industry as it will provide new avenues towards how they approach autonomous behavior and the harden sensors will provide more reliability. 



KEYWORDS: Autonomous, Autonomy Sensors, LIDAR, Radar, Combat Vehicle Robotics 

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