Sunday, July 25, 2021

German defense group unveils new autonomous platform

German weapons maker Rheinmetall unveiled its new autonomous platform, called the Mission Master XT.

The new platform is the latest member of the Rheinmetall Mission Master family of Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (A-UGVs).

Named for its ability to tackle extreme terrain, the Mission Master XT is a robust platform that carries heavy payloads and thrives in even the most challenging conditions. Like all the other Mission Master autonomous vehicles in the family, the newcomer is driven by the Rheinmetall PATH autonomy kit, an industry-leading technology enabling AI-powered autonomous driving and navigation in a variety of modes.

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As noted by the company, the Mission Master XT thrives in extreme terrain. It easily tackles ice, snow, and sub-zero weather conditions, as well as sandy, rocky and mountainous topography. Its advanced amphibious capabilities allow it to float and swim while maintaining its full payload capacity. Weighing in at 2217 kg, this powerful A-UGV can carry a 1000 kg payload in all scenarios, allowing troops to transport special equipment to hard-to-reach locations. The diesel-powered engine allows it to travel 750 km without refuelling, while lithium-ion batteries enable up to 6 hours of silent watch operations.

Another remarkable feature of the Rheinmetall Mission Master XT is its continuous tire inflation system, which adjusts the tire pressure as needed based on the terrain. Featuring high endurance and survivability, the A-UGV keeps moving on even with 2 cm-holes in the tires.

Like the other platforms in the Rheinmetall Mission Master family, the Mission Master XT is optimized to take on dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, allowing soldiers to focus on their core missions more effectively and in greater safety. It is driven by Rheinmetall PATH, a proven autonomy kit (A-kit) that enables a wide range of autonomous driving and navigation capabilities.

The Mission Master family is fully compatible with NATO-standard battle management systems and can be controlled through a variety of teleoperation options. “The most multifunctional of these is a smart tablet developed by Rheinmetall, which allows the operator to control any Mission Master platform and payload through a single interface, a first for the market”, explains Alain Tremblay, Vice-President of Business Development and Innovation at Rheinmetall Canada. “For instance, users can monitor camera feeds or direct a weapon station, then quickly program the platform to navigate itself autonomously to a desired location, all from the same device”, adds Mr Tremblay.

If necessary, this robust, tried-and-tested mechanical platform can operate in manned configuration, with an integrated joystick and emergency seat.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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