Forestry

MRAKForestry

Proven Capabilities Protecting Steep Slope Harvesting & Wild Fire Support Operations

With over twenty years of proven success on hundreds of real-world operations, ARA’s MRAK capabilities have been battle-tested and improved with feedback from the United States military’s deployment at military ranges having unexploded ordnance hazards throughout forested areas needing clearance. With its record of  military site accomplishments, MRAK is now ready for use by commercial forestry operators throughout the world to take existing manned vehicles and make them optionally unmanned thereby temporarily distancing themselves from steep slope harvesting, other forestry hazards and a reduction of human injuries from manned operations.

ARA has developed the modern MRAK to support our U.S. Government contracting business. The present incarnation of this business is to provide MRAK kits to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), supporting their mission to provide unexploded ordinance (UXO) cleanup operations on over 20 US Army bases over the next decade. ARA provides MRAK kits, command and control trailers and robotic operations training on MRAK equipped USACE owned and rented heavy equipment. This work is on-going, and has resulted in the adaptation (i.e., different control software and cabling) of our MRAK to a variety of makes and models of heavy equipment for forestry and construction projects. To further support the mission of the US Government, ARA has also developed a line of subsurface munition detection and discrimination equipment that can be semi-autonomously driven (i.e., will create a driving plan to draw the sensor over a desired ‘area-of coverage’, and automatically detects and avoids obstacles) through a UXO field to find and map subsurface UXO/IED threats

Since 2014, USACE has focused its clean-up efforts on military firing ranges with a considerable amount of trees often filled with bullets, mortars, and other unexploded ordnance. The mission of USACE remains the same – use robotic equipment to cut the trees, collect them at a processing point, level the ground and clean it of surface UXO, and identify, and remove subsurface threats. This has been repeatedly demonstrated at several Army sites since 2015.

At the pilot program at Ft. Bragg, USACE used MRAK kits on rented compact track loaders to move and pile logs, feller bunchers with hot saw heads to fell trees, mulchers and stump grinders to remove stumps, dozers to remove topsoil and front end loaders to load dump trucks. The pilot project came in under-budget and ahead of schedule, so the USACE is continuing remediation projects at military bases with much larger trees, and more inclement terrain. USACE is looking to use skidders to do the job of the compact track loaders in transporting felled logs to the processing point and adding “go-there” and “return home” autonomy to its fleet of MRAK equipped vehicles.

MRAKs are at a TRL-8 level and incorporate all the latest US Army open architecture, Interoperability Profile (IOP), Robotic Operating System-Military (ROS-M) Robotic Technology Kernel (RTK) and Warfighter Machine Interface (WMI) software protocols. The MRAK can be installed on a vehicle in the motor pool, removed and reinstalled on a different vehicle, proving the universality concept. The MRAKs have already undergone Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) safety confirmation testing on ARA’s MRZR-X Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) vehicle.

MRAK Protects Forestry Operators With:

  • Remote Control from up to 300m distance
  • Tele-operations from up to 2 km distances
  • Multiple camera options with plug and play capabilities
  • Ruggedized sensor capable of withstanding a wide range of environments
  • Independent safety emergency stop capability

MRAK Forestry Vehicle Applications:

  • Unmanned Feller Buncher
  • Unmanned Mulcher
  • Unmanned Skidder
  • Unmanned Dozer
  • Unmanned Skid Steer Loader