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EyeRobot TBI unmanned TelePresence reconnaissance mission

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Author: Breejen, E. den · Jansen, C.
Type:article
Date:2008
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:In: RTO SET-130 / RSY-023
Identifier: 22028
Keywords: Defence · unmanned ground vehicle · robotics · military

Abstract

There is an increasing use of unmanned systems in military operations. Effective use of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for counter IED and reconnaissance tasks under battlefield conditions has been reported. For operations in urban environment, good real time situational awareness for the operator is required to be able to manoeuvre and observe in complex terrain. With a TelePresence control system, the operator is perceptually immersed in the remote environment, comparable to if he were there himself. The paper reports on two coupled technology demonstrators developed: EyeRobot and TelePresence BInoculars. The EyeRobot is an unmanned vehicle designed for operational use for reconnaissance missions in urban environments. The platform used is the RobuROC4 (Robosoft). TNO developed together with Siemens and Roke Manor the autonomous and TelePresence operational modes for the system. In TelePresence operational mode the operator is immersed in the environment where he manoeuvres the EyeRobot platform. The operator has stereo vision, 3D audio, night vision thermal infrared camera and tele zoom camera all mounted on a pan/tilt unit coupled to head movement of the operator,. TelePresence allows the operator to combine the functional tasks of platform control and observation at the same time. The second technology demonstrator, TBI TelePresence BInoculars, is a handheld TelePresence control station. The radio, computer and batteries are located in a small backpack, the user interface for the operator is in the binoculars housing. The operator receives stereo imagery on HMD (Head Mounted Display) and 3D audio on speakers on either side of the head. The platform is controlled by two buttons operated by thumbs in natural grip of the binoculars. With the buttons positioned within finger reach, the operator can switch between stereo vision, mono vision, zoom, and IR. The EyeRobot TelePresence BInoculars technology demonstrator successfully passed functional test in operational setting in military training village “Oostdorp” of the Royal Netherlands Army at the army base in Harskamp. The scenario of the test was the remote reconnaissance of a quala (Afghan living quarters) by a military operator using handheld TBI TelePresence BInoculars. The performance of the wireless video link was despite drizzling weather conditions better than expected. The military operator was able to manoeuvre the vehicle through the terrain and building after short training.