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Galil Motion Controller used for Hyper-Realistic Military Training

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:19am

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Strategic Operations (STOPS) uses a Galil DMC-4080 8-axis Ethernet motion controller and servo drive package in their Ballistic Unmanned Ground Vehicle (BUGV) used in their Hyper-Realistic training environments for military, law enforcement and homeland security operations.

Designed for training operations, no live driver sits in the BUGV; just hyper realistic foam mannequins. Real people operate the vehicle via a sophisticated remote control device. Key driving functions are managed by the Galil DMC-4080 8-axis Ethernet motion controller which incorporates two Galil D3040 4-axis, 500 W drives operating at voltages between 20 V and 80 V and peak currents up to 10 A per axis.

Three of the axes of the Galil DMC-4080 control the steering, shifting and throttle actions, while a fourth axis is used for additional steering requirements. Another axis is used for controlling a machine gun mounted inside the vehicle which fires blanks at the trainees. The remaining three axes are reserved for testing and other features. STOPS uses some of the controller input/output (I/O) to operate relays that energize such functions as the ignition or turn signals.

A key factor why STOPS specified the Galil controller is its ability to function with utmost reliability inside a vehicle subject to extremely harsh conditions, like wide-ranging temperatures of -10° C to 65° C; dusty, loose and uneven terrain; real ammunition and explosives; and chemicals. For STOPS, failure is not an option with the controller.

“The overall robustness of the Galil controller is impressive,” said Kit Lavell, executive vice president for Strategic Operations, who liked how the Tell Torque feature of the DMC-4080 takes readings from the motor of the BUGV to determine the harshness of the terrain it is on, and then delivers its findings to the remote control “driver” so he can either ease down or rev up the engine accordingly.

Other Galil features play significant roles in operating the BUGV, such as the Homing Routine and Limits feature which allows for safe power-up of the vehicle and re-centering of the wheels for each training session.

“We also use Galil’s Position Tracking Mode to send position data streams from the host to the four axes used for driving the BUGV. The data throughput is excellent, with no issues, no latency,” said Lavell.

STOPS engineers found the native Galil programming language easy-to-use, which helped enable them to incorporate several safety routines into the operating system. For example, whenever the controller does not receive a data stream, it goes into a fail-safe routine that brings the vehicle to a stop.

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