Protecting military bases, large industrial campuses, amusement parks, and other facilities with large geographic area can be highly challenging. Typically, a small, focused security team leverage some combination of fixed infrastructure technologies (video surveillance, sensors, etc.) to maintain situational awareness of the protected area, deploying response teams to investigate undesirable intrusions or unclear situations on or near a security perimeter. This is the case on many military bases, where staff must investigate and respond to perimeter events 24/7/365 even in the harshest of weather. Responding to a requirement by USNORTHCOM and the US Army, QS was contracted in 2014 to develop and deliver a solution to protecting military bases to maintain situational awareness. Leveraging autonomous robots, QS’ end-to-end Robotic Sentry System (RSS) solution allowed security staff to autonomously deploy a utility task vehicle (UTV)-class robot to a detected event, take over control of the robot onsite, interact with the intruder, and classify it as a threat and hold him/her there until human help arrived, or classify the event as non-threatening and autonomously return the robot to a holding position.
RSS operates in the harshest cold weather – negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in snow and ice. QS developed RSS to meet the Army’s stringent requirements, leveraging all of its capabilities to make RSS a reality – using end-to-end M&S to develop CONOPS and requirements, converting a COTS UTV with a custom X-by-wire kit, developing an OCU, infrastructure blending autonomy and augmented teleoperation, building an electronic common operating picture leveraging military-relevant radars, seismic, and camera sensors, and integrating and testing the system using a spectrum of virtual, real, and mixed components throughout the process. RSS was deployed and tested at a remote cold-weather base in fall of 2016, with soldiers learning the system in less than two hours of training and then actively using and demonstrating it to a team of DoD VIPs. The hard work paid off, with soldiers expressing their enthusiasm for the system and observing, “This is the most intuitive interface we’ve ever used!” RSS is being transitioned through multiple programs and directions, and represents an extraordinary example of the power and expertise of the QS team.