SAN DIEGO – Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that with the November 2020 deployment in North Dakota, the Unmanned Systems Division has now deployed its self-driving truck, known as the Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (ATMA), in eight locations across the United States and the UK. The success of the ATMA in increasing worker safety has sparked significant interest in the highway maintenance industry leading to a 9th deployment already under contract for this summer and targeted opportunities in 26 additional States for near-term deployments.
In the commercial highway maintenance industry, driving a Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA) is recognized as one of the most dangerous job or task assignments in the work zone. The TMA vehicle functions as a human-driven mobile crash barrier following behind slow moving highway maintenance operations shielding those workers and equipment from errant drivers entering the work zone. Workers assigned to drive the TMA are at serious risk of lifelong injury if/when their TMA is impacted, by another vehicle. The impacting vehicle can range from a family sedan to an 80,000 pound tanker truck traveling at 60 mph or more. Kratos recognized this risk area as an opportunity to pivot and expand our technology to additional life-saving applications. We adapted our military Autonomous Vehicle (AV) solutions for this commercial application to eliminate this dangerous human assignment.
Maynard Factor, Vice President of Business Development, said, “I am proud of the work we are doing at Kratos Defense with AV technology to provide solutions that solve real-world problems that exist today. Using the AV technology we originally developed for the military to reduce warfighter exposure to danger that can now also be used to increase safety for the men and women maintaining our roadways is a huge win for everyone.”
The ATMA was adapted from AV technology Kratos originally developed for the military to reduce warfighter exposure during dangerous missions such as route clearance and resupply operations. The AV system is deployed in a “Leader/Follower” configuration where a human driven “leader vehicle” is followed by the self-driving “follower vehicle”, the ATMA. The leader and follower vehicles are retrofitted with system components to enable the driverless operation. Kratos integrated a precision navigation system for centimeter-level following accuracy and GPS-denied operation. Navigation data is transmitted from the leader vehicle to the ATMA over a dual-redundant Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) communications architecture that is hardened with AES encryption and a frequency hopping spread spectrum. The ATMA is also enabled with front and side view obstacle detect and avoid systems using a combination of overlapping sensor technologies. With the entire ATMA system being a “bolt-on” retrofit solution, it has proven to be a more cost-effective and desirable option versus replacing existing vehicle fleets with “purpose-built” robots.
Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “Our Unmanned Systems portfolio is ever expanding in breadth, from command and control to complete air, ground, land, and sea systems. Our depth in capability is correspondingly increasing with technology advancements enabling expanded features across our platforms and systems. With most of our efforts being focused on affordable DoD solutions, the opportunity to leverage those systems and technologies for specific commercial-based applications, like the ATMA, while still falling under the security / saving lives umbrella as our defense solutions, is incredibly gratifying.”
About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:KTOS) develops and fields transformative, affordable technology, platforms and systems for United States National Security related customers, allies and commercial enterprises. Kratos is changing the way breakthrough technology for these industries are rapidly brought to market through proven commercial and venture capital backed approaches, including proactive research and streamlined development processes. At Kratos, affordability is a technology, and we specialize in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, hypersonic systems, training, combat systems and next generation turbo jet and turbo fan engine development. For more information, please visit www.KratosDefense.com.
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