The University of Exeter and Supacat are helping to pave the way for a green revolution in defence and off-road transport with the development of hybrid electrical powered version of the All-Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP).
The development supports the UK’s aim to deliver a ‘greener’ future following the government’s announcement in February to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035.
Engineering experts from the University of Exeter collaborated with British designer and developer of high mobility defence vehicles, Supacat, to pioneer a new, electric-drive version of the ATMP vehicle – which has been used by regular and special operations forces in combat zones across the world.
Called the H-ATMP, the new vehicle replaces its traditional diesel engine with six electric motors, one attached to each wheel, and can be configured for full electric or hybrid versions.
The H-ATMP can be parachute-dropped and amphibious, can deliver troops, carry up to 1600kg payload and haul artillery across extreme rough terrain.
“The H-ATMP has to be able to cover the most intimidating and adverse terrain, while drawing artillery and carrying troops around the battlefield. While it may seem that the technology is similar to electric SUV vehicles we see on the road, the reality is that is the H-ATMP will conquer rough terrain that would leave the best 4×4 stuck in the mud.”Prof Chris Smith, University of Exeter.
The vehicle can also act as a power hub for field hospitals or communication systems, and because the electric vehicles emit little noise or heat, the vehicle is stealthy on the battlefield.
This vehicle will be able to drive itself over highly complex terrains while the driver can conduct other tasks or place themselves in a safer location for more dangerous operations, or it can be linked to a higher level mission planning tool to create an autonomous ‘system of systems’, which will help meet the many potential users’ aspirations for safety improvements, enhanced mobility or reduced manning in the future, the company explained.
The H-ATMP is due to be evaluated by a range of specialist users later this year.
“The KTP provided us with an excellent challenge to innovate a new, cleaner electric powered vehicle, which has kick-started a fast-expanding stream of work with other companies in off-highway, rail, defence, and marine hybridisation and electrification research. It’s catapulted us into a leading position in innovation for new clean power systems for all kinds of transport.”Prof Chris Smith.
“The knowledge that has been gained and distributed throughout the project partners is invaluable, resulting in significant additional revenue in the life of the project and high confidence of sustained additional revenue for the company in this sector over the next few years.”Steve Austen, engineering director and chief engineer of SC Group.
These two projects have meant two new jobs have been created with two young engineers from the University, Matt Harvey and Yash Katare, joining SC Group. They will work on developing the technology for Supacat’s defence market and to serve the wider marine, rail, energy or emergency services markets for SC Group sister business, SC Innovation.