New armored vehicle design improves safety and mobility

GTRI engineers, in collaboration with automobile industry engineers, have built an armored concept vehicle designed for increased survivability and mobility in combat situations.

Dubbed ULTRA, the high-output, diesel-powered patrol truck features an innovative crew compartment that combines new armor materials and faceted geometries to provide better deflection of pressure waves from blasts. The lightweight and cost-effective armor was designed at GTRI in partnership with the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. The vehicle also incorporates a "blast bucket" designed to provide ballistic blast and enhanced roll-over protection.

The ULTRA design employs onboard computers that integrate steering, suspension, and brakes to provide a high level of mobility and safety. The work was an application of "e-safety," an emerging automotive concept that combines computers and advanced technologies to make driving safer. In addition, the vehicle's integrated truck chassis represented an improvement over the most advanced production vehicles at the time.

The project was initiated to help the military evaluate new vehicle designs that incorporate significantly increased resistance to explosions caused by mines and improvised explosive devices. It was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

The development team included engineers from:

  • GTRI,
  • Chrysler,
  • General Motors,
  • NASCAR, and
  • The U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command.