Small Unit Mobility Enhancement Technology (SUMET) Program – Funded by ONR

image of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)


In support of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Logistics-Connector Distributed Operations Mission, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is developing low-cost electro-optical (EO) perception, localization, and path planning algorithms for autonomous (driverless) vehicle operation in austere/harsh off-road environments, without dependence on GPS.


The SUMET program aims to increase the platform capability and affordability of unmanned ground vehicle  (UGV) enabling technologies by focusing on camera-based perception for full-size tactical vehicles. Perception is accomplished through material classification based on texture, spectral, and spatial signatures. The SUMET architecture was designed to be open, modular, scalable, and extensible and to allow for rapid realization of additional autonomous behaviors and the use of various sensor modalities.

image of camera screenshot

Key Elements of the SUMET System

  • Low-cost EO (camera)-only perception
  • Localization for GPS-denied pperation
  • World model scalability
  • Near- and far-field path planning


SUMET has been deployed on HMMWV, ITV, and MRZR platforms. It is also being used as the software framework for DoD programs.

SUMET Program Information

Christopher Mentzer, Manager, (210) 522-4240,