Sikorsky, NREC team to demonstrate unmanned ground vehicle

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., an aircraft design company, announced on Tuesday that it successfully won a demonstration project with Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) to deliver an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).

Sikorsky and NREC will demonstrate the autonomous delivery of the UGV by an optionally piloted Black Hawk helicopter enabled with Matrix technology. Following delivery, the UGV will execute a mission to investigate a potentially contaminated area while keeping personnel out of harm's way.

The demonstration project is an 18-month program sponsored by the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

"This mission execution will demonstrate how the technology will eliminate warfighter exposure to hazardous materials and threat of attack," Chris VanBuiten, the vice president of technology and innovation for Sikorsky, said. "It is another exciting opportunity for Sikorsky to highlight the application and value of Matrix technology in diverse platforms with different autonomy applications, and we are excited to be working with the world-renowned NREC to offer the U.S. Army this unique collaborative capability."

The NREC is providing the UGV to join a team of unmanned ground and air vehicles to autonomously survey sites with suspected CBRN contamination. Sikorsky's Matrix technology is meant to significantly improve the capability, reliability and safety of flight for autonomous, optionally piloted and piloted vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

"Sikorsky is aggressively investing in and developing its autonomy applications with an eye toward the future products that will carry this technology and the capabilities they deliver," Mark Miller, the vice president of research and engineering for Sikorsky, said. "Matrix is a proven technology built on our existing full authority flight controls system and flown on multiple platforms, and Sikorsky plans to continue leading the way in this aviation frontier and rewriting what rotorcraft can do."

Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., which provides high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.