Self-Mobile Trailier

Period of Performance: 07/31/2003 - 01/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Micro Analysis and Design, Inc.
4949 Pearl East Circle, Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


The combat load for today's individual Special Operations Forces warfighter is 100 pounds or more, which is unacceptably high. Lighter loads will reduce SOF operator fatigue, and increase his ability to move greater distances in a shorter time than is possible today. As a solution to this problem, we propose to design a self-mobile trailer, a robotic "mule" capable of carrying loads up to 1000 pounds - cargo and seated or litter-borne personnel - and autonomously trailing a foot patrol over rough terrain. The team we have assembled for this work has unparalleled experience designing robotic vehicles, and we expect to leverage work on similar vehicles to rapidly assemble and evaluate design concepts. The Phase I work will result in an overall system design concept with supporting analysis that leads directly into the construction of a detailed design and prototype in Phase II. We see opportunity for marketing to the Army and Marine Corp for deep reconnaissance missions that would be similar to SOCOM mission demands, as well as potential commercial applications in security and warehousing, and as a supply carrier for smoke jumpers fighting fires in rough terrain. The principal benefit of a self-mobile trailer is in reducing SOF operator combat loads, increasing their endurance, and improving their situational awareness. Our proposed design is highly adaptable, allowing the vehicle to be configured for seated personnel, MEDEVAC, and cargo transport. The design will produce a vehicle capable of nearly silent operation, with extremely low visible, thermal, acoustic and radar signature. The vehicle will be highly mobile, capable of autonomously trailing a foot patrol over challenging terrain and fording small rivers. It will have a simple, man-wearable Operator Control Unit designed to facilitate operator mobility. The vehicle will be equipped with self-protection measures to prevent use by enemy forces.