An oft-overlooked element in intelligent/robotic ground vehicles is stability control. As anyone who has teleoperated over rough terrain can attest, it’s easy to roll over the robot when you have no sense of its position relative to gravity. This situation is compounded when the control is via automated algorithms, and/or if the vehicle is larger or with a high center of gravity as many military vehicles are. In 2008, as part of the DRIVER enhanced teleoperation program, QS developed a “stability box” to monitor and provide feedback on stability of a robotic ground platform. The prototype was highly successful, and in seeing the possibilities of such a system, the Army awarded QS a new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop VSS+ - a predictive stability monitoring and intervention system intended to provide augmentation to manned and unmanned platforms. With Vehicle Stability System Plus (VSS+), vehicles approaching instability will provide warning to a human driver/teleoperator and intervene if/when needed to keep the vehicle stable and upright. This ensures the safety of the human driver (for manned platforms) as well as the safety and operational status of the platform (in all cases).
QS developed new algorithms for VSS+, testing them in conjunction with QS’ Autonomous Navigation Virtual Environment Laboratory (ANVEL) simulations, transitioning them to work with real-world platforms, and integrating them with the Army’s applique robotics system (AMAS) as well as all forward-looking QS teleoperation and ground vehicle control systems. VSS+ was built from the ground up to solve a complex problem in a seldom addressed space, and is available for inclusion into your next vehicle program!