United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center

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U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center
TARDEC LOGO 051509 LargeOnBlack.jpg
Active 1946 – present[1]
Country United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Research and Development
Garrison/HQ Detroit Arsenal, Michigan
Website Official Website

The United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), located in Warren, Michigan, is the United States Armed Forces' research and development facility for advanced technology in ground systems.[2] It is part of the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), a major subordinate command of the United States Army Materiel Command. TARDEC shares its facilities with the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC). Current technology focus areas include Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility (GVPM), Ground System Survivability and Force Protection, among others.[3]

Laboratories[edit]

It features a number of research laboratories, including:

  • Laser Protection Laboratory
  • Crew Station Systems Integration Laboratory
  • Robotic Systems Integration Laboratory
  • Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory — ride motion simulator, pintle motion based simulator, crew station/turret motion based simulator and several vehicle "shaker" facilities
  • High Performance Computing Laboratory — supports virtual prototyping and design development of combat vehicles and improves virtual reality capabilities
  • Next Generation Software Laboratory
  • Water Laboratory
  • Petroleum Laboratory — researches properties and durability of a wide range of fuel including JP-8, Diesel, hydraulic fluids and lubricants
  • Bridging Simulation Laboratory — Located at Selfridge Air National Guard base, this facility features computer-controlled load test areas with automated data acquisition capability for structural testing of bridging systems. Laboratory capabilities include static and dynamic structural load application for structural and fatigue testing.
  • Propulsion Test Laboratory
  • Physical and Rapid Prototyping Laboratory
  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Center — researches a variety of alternative vehicle structural materials, including composite materials
  • Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration (CGVDI)
  • Ground Vehicle Power and Systems Engineering Laboratory (GSPEL) (opened April 2012)

Relationship with Industry[edit]

U.S. Army TARDEC maintains collaborative partnerships with a spectrum of defense and automotive industry entities with the purpose of co-developing key ground vehicle technologies while leveraging industry technology advancements and economy-of-scale. These relationships are formalized through one of a variety of mechanisms, including formal contracts, Other Transaction Agreements, and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, among others. Occasionally these relationships extend to non-industry entities also, as with the Michigan Department of Transportation and various academic institutions.

Robotic Vehicles[edit]

U.S. Army TARDEC is the Department of Defense's lead agency for automated, driver-optional, and driver-assist technology development for ground vehicles. Developed within its Ground Vehicle Robotics portfolio, these technologies apply through the common, open-source Robotics Operating System-Military to tactical and combat vehicle platforms and applications.

Automated Ground Resupply[edit]

TARDEC furthers the development of autonomous driving in resupply activities through its Automated Ground Resupply (AGR) program. The keystone project in this program is its AMAS, or Automated Mobility Applique System, an applique kit that enables automated, driver-optional, and driver-assist behaviors to current Army vehicle platforms. This technology is intended to manifest as "leader-follower" or "platooning" of line-haul resupply vehicles in which a lead vehicle is manually driven, remotely-driven, or driven autonomously through waypoint navigation and the follower vehicles in a convoy are fed driving instructions from the lead vehicle.

Automated Convoy Testing on Interstate Highways[edit]

In 2016, and again in 2017, U.S. Army TARDEC with the Michigan Department of Transportation conducted tests and demonstrations of its leader-follower technology on Interstate 69 and across the Blue Water Bridge in Eastern Michigan. The tests, intended to exercise the Dedicated Short Range Communications radios installed both in the vehicles and along the roadways, demonstrated the effectiveness of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications along the interstate. Further tests are expected in conjunction with the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan[4].

Fuel Cell Electric vehicles[edit]

Through a cooperative partnership with General Motors, U.S. Army TARDEC characterized and demonstrated the unique fuel cell-equipped Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 in 2017-2018, highlighting the center's pursuit and development of technologies that are nearing a level of readiness applicable to the military[5]. U.S. Army TARDEC indicates the technology may provide silent vehicle mobility, power generation, enhanced low-end torque, a reduction in the vehicle's thermal signature, and a broader flexibility for fuel sources. Jointly unveiled by General Motors and U.S. Army TARDEC at the 2016 annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, the vehicle's demonstrations completed in 2018 and follow-on projects are anticipated.

Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator[edit]

U.S. Army TARDEC designs vehicles and vehicle components that integrate a wide variety of technologies to demonstrate the state-of-the-art in fuel efficient vehicle design.

FED Bravo on display in April 2012.

The FED's objectives include:

  • Identifying and assessing technologies that support increasing fuel efficiency and reducing fuel consumption for light tactical vehicles.
  • Developing and assessing fuel efficient tactical vehicle concepts that compare favorably and achieve the same operational capabilities of a HMMWV.
  • Developing, fabricating, and testing two system-level demonstrators that incorporate fuel-efficient technologies. The two demonstrator vehicles are named "Alpha" and "Bravo".
  • Training the next generation of government engineers in fuel efficiency processes and tools.

FED "Alpha" fabrication was completed in October 2010. FED Alpha is powered by a super/turbocharged 200 horsepower 4.5 litre inline 4-cylinder Diesel engine optimized for fuel efficiency. Alpha also includes other fuel-saving subsystems, such as an integrated starter generator, lightweight hull, low rolling resistance tires, driver feedback systems, solar panels, low-drag brakes, superfinishing of driveline components, and other technologies.

FED "Bravo" detailed design phase was completed and was to begin fabrication in early 2011. Bravo was to have a road-coupled parallel hybrid powertrain.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "History of TARDEC and predecessors". Tardec.army.mil. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  2. ^ TARDEC Home Page
  3. ^ "Technology Focus Areas". Tardec.army.mil. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Michigan Interstate to be Summer Testing Ground for U.S. Army Autonomous Fleet". www.govtech.com. Retrieved 2018-07-03. 
  5. ^ "TARDEC to demo ZH2 fuel cell vehicle - LWI - Land Warfare - Shephard Media". www.shephardmedia.com. Retrieved 2018-07-03. 

Sources[edit]