Carnegie Mellon and Sikorsky Aircraft are working with the U.S. Army to show that a drone copter and a driverless ground vehicle can work together to autonomously survey a contaminated site. The unmanned ground vehicle UGV will navigate using sensors looking out for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear contamination.The vehicle will be a modified a Land Tamer all-terrain vehicle with an autonomous driving system. The autonomous Land Tamer will feature sensing that will let it operate day and night under all visibility conditions.
Sikorsky will modify a Black Hawk helicopter that can fly at speeds greater than 138 mph with an 8000-pound load slung beneath it. Sikorsky recently used the same aircraft in cooperation with the U.S. Army to demonstrate the capability to autonomously deliver supplies to soldiers in the field.
The combo will be tested September 2015 at Sikorsky’s test site in Florida. The helicopter will carry the Land Tamer in a sling, autonomously find a good landing spot, lower the vehicle to the ground and release it. The ground vehicle will then autonomously explore the site, taking readings with its on-board sensors, while crossing rugged terrain and dealing with an unpredictable environment.