Autonomy and robotics firm Stratom has received a deal from the Army to develop a personnel safety and situational awareness system for the new Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light platform, the company said Monday.

Stratom said its Perimeter Safety for Autonomous Vehicles (P-SAV) system is a standalone kit that can be integrated on robotic vehicles to provide 360-degree sensor coverage and machine learning capabilities for identifying large objects around the platform.

QinetiQ and Pratt Miller deliver first RCV-L vehicle to U.S. Army GVSC personnel at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on November 5, 2020. Photo: QinetiQ.

“As robotic vehicles are increasingly utilized across applications where it may be inconvenient, dangerous or impossible to have a human operator present, we are excited for the opportunity to bring our successful past performance to the RCV-L program and continue supporting the government in its objective to move toward autonomous systems,” Mark Gordon, president and CEO of Stratom, said in a statement. “Additionally, we look forward to capitalizing on this innovative solution’s strong commercial potential to supplement many pieces of equipment with perimeter monitoring capabilities across industries.”

Stratom said its kit is designed to be configurable for additional platforms and will “combine robust hardware components, a well-protected computer system and advanced image processing software to automate difficult tasks, such as personnel identification and situational awareness for vehicle operation in challenging conditions.”

Andrew Lycas, Stratom’s principal roboticist, added the company will leverage investments developing its Summit Off-Road Autonomy Platform for the program and will use its new eXpeditionary Robotic-Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply as a surrogate for the RCV-L. 

“At Stratom, we have a deep understanding of the Army’s needs and objectives, which positions us to uniquely recognize what they’re looking for — and then transform our technical expertise into solutions that meet the Department of Defense’s operational needs,” Lycas said in a statement. 

While the Army has experimented with both light and medium versions of Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCV), Doug Bush, the service’s top acquisition official, told reporters last month the plan moving ahead for now is to focus on developing the light variant, the RCV-L (Defense Daily, Aug. 3). 

The Army in January 2020 awarded an RCV-L prototype deal to QinetiQ and Oshkosh Defense’s [OSK] Pratt Miller to deliver four vehicles for experimental testing based on a variant of the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle, with an option to potentially procure 16 additional vehicles (Defense Daily, Jan. 9).

Fiscal year 2023 budget request documents detailed the Army’s intent to pursue a full and open competition starting next year for an RCV-L surrogate and, eventually, full system prototypes, which are intended to build on the current experimentation effort.