On 6 February, the European Defence Agency (EDA) announced the completion of its Hybrid Manned Unmanned Platooning (Hy-MUP) programme. A continuation of the previous Semi-Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SAM-UGV) project, Hy-MUP was funded by France and Germany and carried out by a consortium consisting of Diehl BGT Defence, ECA Robotics, Rheinmetall Landsysteme, and Thales Optronique.
Objectives were to prove the feasibility of integrating UGV and manned vehicle operations, analysing and defining possible uses for platooning; identification of the significant safety requirements; and development of a demonstrator.
The demonstrator is intended to show the capabilities of a hybrid fleet of manned and unmanned vehicles in convoy reconnaissance/surveillance missions, with a manned mobile C2 vehicle (CCV) and an unmanned vehicle configured for remote operation or to follow a leader vehicle autonomously.
The CCV, loaned by the French MoD, was an Isuzu D-MAX, equipped with a Paravan drive-by-wire capability and a robotics kit developed in the SAM-UGV project. Two separate ‘Leader Following’ functions were evaluated: one running two parallel algorithms for redundancy, using vehicle-mounted cameras and a Velodyne 3D LiDAR sensor as data sources; the other using the same sensors and a visual panel installed on the rear of the Leader Vehicle.
Results of the programme have been encouraging, it seems and have identified areas such as obstacle avoidance in which further evaluation is required.