U.S. Army Develops a Robot Brain for Controlling Armoured Vehicles
The U.S. Army has developed a standard set of hardware and software that, once installed in a human-vehicle, allows the vehicle to be operated remotely or even in a semi-autonomous fashion. The Army’s goal is unmanned fighting vehicles that can operate along manned fighting vehicles, and convoys of unmanned vehicles that can travel routes autonomously or following the lead of a human driver.
The service faces significant challenges, however, as the two-dimensional aspect of unmanned ground is more difficult than unmanned air. In an exclusive to Breaking Defense, the U.S. Army’s Ground Vehicles Systems Center revealed it has a suite of hardware and software capable of transforming manned vehicles to unmanned ones.
The Army has tested it on more than 20 different vehicles, from Humvees to aging M113 armored personnel carriers. It has even installed the kit on German trucks used by the British Army that had the steering wheel, brakes, and other controls on the left hand side.
The U.S. Army wants several things out of this concept. One of the most important is the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), the anticipated replacement for the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. OMFV will, as it name implies, occasionally operate without a human crew.
The Army also wants unmanned trucks and cargo vehicles, saving humans from drudgery—and danger—of driving trucks near battlefields.