Complex underground settings present significant challenges for military and civilian first responders, with hazards varying drastically across domains that can degrade or change over time and are often too high-risk for personnel to enter. The appeal and effectiveness of unmanned systems prompted Congress to mandate that one third of all U.S. military vehicles be unmanned. The DARPA Subterranean or “SubT” Challenge seeks novel approaches to rapidly map, navigate and search underground environments during time-sensitive combat operations or disaster response scenarios. Navigation subsystems are integral for performance in underground environments. MicroStrain inertial sensors provide inertial measurements and aid navigation systems for unmanned vehicles. Using advanced technology, these sensors are helping teams in the DARPA SubT Challenge succeed.
As part of the challenge, teams were required to detect and locate certain artifacts, within less than 20cm (8”) of their actual location. In the course of two days, Team Explorer pinpointed 25 artifacts, 14 more than any other team. This demonstrated ability to locate objects reflects the accuracy of MicroStrain navigational data. Several other teams, including those from Colorado State, and teams from Australia and Czechoslovakia, are using MicroStrain sensors in their robots. Parker LORD is a participating sponsor for each of them and a sponsor of Team Explorer, winner of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Tunnel Circuit.
DARPA Teams Using MicroStrain Inertial Sensors
  • Explorer
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Oregon State University
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • University of Colorado, Denver, Scientific Systems Company, Inc.

Emesent drones are used by some teams in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.