Stratom has announced a partnership with TeleSwivel to develop a fully autonomous articulated hitch control system as part of the U.S. Army’s Autonomous Transport Vehicle program.
According to Stratom, the autonomous hitch system transforms the standard pintle hitch and trailer lunette connection to enable the use of trucks and trailers in autonomous ground resupply sustainment operations. The result is believed to be significantly improved versatility, increased speed, and reduced soldier risk. Together, Stratom and TeleSwivel, will work to deliver autonomous technology as a key enabler in the Army’s Autonomous Ground Resupply system.
TeleSwivel is believed to have chosen Stratom to help identify autonomous hitch operation control inputs and outputs, determine the optimal control points between kits and systems and define the communication interface required to command the hitch throughout its full geometrical capture range. Stratom will also be expected to assist with sensor and camera selection to autonomously identify the position of the trailer and operate the hitch without human intervention.
Ryan DelGizzi, Stratom’s director of engineering, said: “Convoys of the future demand automation of the truck-trailer connection to minimize risk and ameliorate situations where soldiers have to lift heavy trailer tongues or get between a moving PLS truck and its trailer to complete the connection. Leveraging our unique experience with developing an autonomous fueling system for the Expedient Leader-Follower platform, TeleSwivel partnered with our team to help transition from a power articulated hitch controlled by a ground guide to a fully autonomous hitch control. This application is the perfect fit for our expertise as we continue to support the Army’s continued momentum into the world of autonomy.”
Dave Woolf, TeleSwivel’s President and CEO, commented: “The Army’s current equipment for towing tactical trailers is more than 80 years old. This outdated technology, combined with adverse conditions, makes connecting a PLS truck to its trailer a time-consuming, dangerous — and even deadly — task for soldiers. The risk that legacy hitches pose to soldiers today will be much greater on future Multi-Domain battlefields where mobility will be essential for survival. We’re thrilled to partner with the Stratom team to deliver an autonomous hitch system that will not only make the use of PLS trailers possible in AGR operations but, when fielded on future Common Tactical Truck systems, will also enhance speed of movement for any operation involving trailers.”