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Activity title

Assessment Methods and Tools for Mobility of Autonomous Military Ground Systems

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Applied Vehicle Technology

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autonomous systems, data analytics, mobility, Performance and reliability, physicsbased methods


Autonomous ground systems are a key part of the Army’s modernization strategy, and commercial companies are racing to develop autonomous systems and be first to market. In this race to field these systems, there is still a lack of understanding of the performance and reliability of these systems. There are immediate needs by government and industry to better understand the performance of these systems under a wide range of conditions, and because of the complexity of these systems and the environments they are in, simulation methods must be used to develop the systems, test the systems, training them and understand their operational use cases. One key performance measure of autonomous ground systems is their mobility on-road and off-road. How fast can the system move and how reliability can in make it to its destination under a wide range of conditions? How well can these systems move and more importantly maneuver with soldiers under certain operations? How are these measures defined? These are very important topics that need to be addressed in order to fully field and operationalize these new technologies. This proposed activity will leverage the results from ET-148 and AVT-248 on the Next Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model (NRMM), the CDT-308, and our understanding the mobility of current ground systems off-road, and other U.S. sponsored research in off-road mobility of ground systems. The activity will also leverage any relevant results from AVT-ET-184 (“Physics of Failure for Military Platforms”) and AVT-ET-185 (“Goal-driven, Multi-Fidelity Approaches for Military Vehicle System-Level Design”) to examine the challenges, special requirements, and enabling technologies for autonomous military systems. The NATO Reference Mobility Model (NRMM) is a simulation tool aimed at predicting the capability of a vehicle to move over specified terrain conditions. NRMM can be used for on-road and cross-country scenarios, it can account for several parameters such as terrain type, moisture content, terrain roughness, vehicle geometry, driver capabilities, etc. NRMM was developed and validated by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) over several decades, and has been revised and updated throughout the years, resulting in the most recent version, NRMM II. NRMM is traditionally used to facilitate comparison between vehicle design candidates and to assess the mobility of existing vehicles under specific scenarios. Although NRMM has proven to be of great practical utility to the NATO forces, when compared to modern modeling tools it has exhibited several inherent limitations when it comes to the empirical data it was based on originally, and on the new sensors and control technologies. The NG-NRMM effort and resulting CDT has made progress updating the requirements for the model and demonstrating what is feasible with current software packages existing today, but did not address the mobility of autonomous systems. The NG-NRMM effort did benchmark existing simulation tools against standard mobility tests, but did not look into the broader community of simulation companies that are racing to lead this new market.


This proposed activity is to explore the methods and approaches to assess the performance and reliability of autonomous ground systems. The primary objectives of the proposed panel are to: (1) identify the challenges and special requirements associated with modelling and simulation of autonomous military systems, and (2) the current state-of-the-art software for assessing the performance (mobility) of autonomous military systems. The panel will leverage the results from other existing and related NATO STO and TTCP activities with collaboration from multiple nations and tri-services interested in this topic area.


The proposed panel will attempt to cover the following scientific topics: (1) Challenges and special requirements for modelling and simulation of autonomous military systems (2) Definitions related to autonomous military systems (3) Current software available for assessing the mobility of autonomous systems (4) Approaches to assessing the interdependence of mobility with communications and data (5) Build on NG-NRMM AVT-248 results to determine approach for assessing off-road mobility of autonomous systems.

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