Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Jason R Blough


In mid-July 2003, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) performed a series of experiments at Keweenaw Research Center (KRC), with a remote operated mine roller system. This system, named Panther Lite, consists of two M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC’s) connected by a Tandem Vehicle Linkage Assembly (TVLA). The system has three sets of mine rollers, two of which are connected to the front of the lead vehicle with one set trailing from the trail vehicle. Currently, the system requires two joystick controllers. One regulates the braking of the tracks, throttle, and transmission of the lead vehicle and the other controls the braking and throttle of the rear vehicle. One operator controls both joysticks, attempting to maneuver the lead vehicle along a desired path. At the same time, this operator makes compensation maneuvers to reduce lateral loads in the TVLA and to guide the rear mine rollers along the desired path.

The purpose of this project is to create algorithms that would allow the slave (trail) vehicle to operate using inputs that maneuver the control (lead) vehicle. The project will be completed by first reconstructing the experimental data. Kinematic models will be generated and simulations created. The models will then be correlated with the reconstructions of the experimental data. The successful completion of this project will be a first step to eliminating the need for the second joystick.