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Marines field autonomous support vehicles based on winning robot design (video)

Sean Hollister

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Since their third-place finish in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, TORC Technology's had quite a climb -- the company founded by Virginia Tech graduates has since provided IED-scouting Humvee kits to the US Military, and a vehicle for the blind uses the drive-by-wire platform that they designed. Now, the Marines are testing a TORC kit called the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS), which autonomously navigate off-road terrain. Designed to accompany ground troops, the four prototypes only move at 5 MPH, but carry up to 1800 pounds, and can automatically follow troops (or other GUSS) at a distance while shouldering their loads. A one pound transmitter -- the WaySight -- can show the GUSS where to go, or optionally enable direct control for soldiers who prefer things the old-fashioned way. Personally, we love the smell of autonomy in the morning, don't you? See it in action after the break.

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