Bounded Autonomous Tractor – Trailer Logistic Supply (BATTLS) Defence and Security Accelerator

Challenge

This Defence & Security Accelerator themed competition (Autonomous Last Mile Re-supply) was looking for novel proposals that use autonomous systems to deliver mission critical supplies to users in the military front-line, focusing on the challenging ‘last mile’ of resupply.

The aim of the autonomous last mile resupply system was to:

  • Reduce the demand on existing platforms and infrastructure
  • Reduce the risk and burden on military personnel during last mile resupply
  • Increase the efficiency of the last mile logistic resupply operations with pace and accuracy
  • Provide an assured resupply capability for forward military users to enable more agile operations in complex environments

RED were successful with our proposal to develop Bounded Autonomous Tractor – Trailer Logistic Supply (BATTLS), an autonomous, versatile, rugged, stealthy and low cost, hybrid, low ground-weight platform.

Approach

The BATTLS tractor vehicle is a system based on the integration of a substantial number of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) technology elements.  Its development has relied on the combination of high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) sub-components to reduce the risk and increase the pace of prototyping.

These elements consist of:

  • A COTS track system;
  • A COTS DC brushless motor and controller solution;
  • Vehicle hubs;
  • A high-capacity, electric vehicle LiFePo4 battery;
  • A 240V generator-based hybrid power supply; and
  • An open-source autonomy package based on the Ardupilot software

Output

The BATTLS tractor vehicle has demonstrated high top speed in tests (circa 40 kph) and has a calculated endurance of more than 57km on battery power alone, additionally the unit has demonstrated very high levels of traction. The basic autonomy package has been used to show waypoint control (as it was not the focus of the work) but the ROS open-architecture has the scalability to incorporate full autonomy and decision making on-board the vehicle. The hybrid-drive has shown the capability of providing extended cruising range at a lower speed and tests have been conducted to use the vehicle telemetry to start and stop the device remotely. The BATTLS trailer system has demonstrated low friction combined with low ground pressure and can be remotely dropped at a desired location.

If you’d like to find out more about our various applications of BATTLS and how they may be of utility then please do Contact us.

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