In July 2020, Paragon Solutions, Inc. was awarded an eighteen-month contract from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL), for the research project Autonomous Transport Innovation: Development of a Novel Living Laboratory for the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) of Autonomous Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Bidirectional EV Charging.
In collaboration with their team of industry experts in the fields of electric transport vehicles, vehicle autonomy, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, and microgrid technologies, Paragon is in the process of delivering a technical program to ERDC-CERL that will advance the state of the art of autonomous tactical vehicles and contingency base energy resilience.
Paragon is developing a novel living laboratory and test site for rigorous experimentation of autonomous systems at CERL’s Contingency Basing Integrated Training and Evaluation Center (CBITEC) on the Fort Leonard Wood Army Installation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paragon has had to adapt the timeline and strategy of the project, but the team continues to find innovative ways to safely meet the research objectives, which include:
- Develop the Fort Leonard Wood CBITEC site and the closed driving course at Training Area (TA) 231 into a novel living laboratory that can be used to evaluate autonomous systems, monitor system performance, and identify reliability problems or safety risks before the autonomous systems are exposed to civilian or military personnel on a larger scale
- Provide a proof-of-concept demonstration of an autonomy-enabled driving system and utilize the demonstration to verify the capability of TA 231 to evaluate autonomous driving system performance in various scenarios and environmental conditions
- Support the development of a novel living laboratory at CBITEC by installing a bidirectional EV charging system and providing a proof-of-concept demonstration of V2G charging in a tactical environment while integrating open standards to promote interoperability
This project follows a 2019 project award that allowed Paragon to identify challenges and develop solutions to support the integration of emerging electric transport vehicles with military legacy equipment and logistics. Paragon’s research found that military-applicable electric platforms, V2G charging, and autonomous systems are sufficiently mature to support the demonstration and assessment of electric and autonomous vehicles in a tactical environment.
Currently, Paragon’s team is working with subcontractor and partner Paul Brubaker, LLC to develop evaluation metrics to quantify automated driving system performance capabilities. Paragon’s subcontractor and partner Robotic Research, LLC is installing a Beacon sensor suite on an electric test vehicle. This vehicle and sensor suite will demonstrate the capabilities of the test track to evaluate autonomous vehicle performance. Paragon’s subcontractor and partner TechFlow Inc. is finalizing the design for the integration of a Coritech V2G charging station at the CBITEC site.
When complete, this research will advance the ability to employ both autonomous EVs and microgrids within contingency and enduring base operations. This timely research will enhance energy security while reducing reliance on vulnerable resupply operations that put warfighters at risk.