Unmanned technology will keep warfighters safe, decrease logistics burden and make convoys more efficient.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated additional capabilities of the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) May 29th at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina by conducting a driverless line-haul convoy with seven military trucks at speeds up to 40 mph.
Colonel Bruce B. McPeak, Director of Materiel Systems, Combined Arms Support Command, climbed into a Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) for an autonomous ride-along.
The recent AMAS CAD II demonstration built upon the capabilities that were demonstrated at Ft. Hood, Texas, in January 2014, where three unmanned military trucks negotiated oncoming traffic, followed rules of the road, recognized pedestrians and avoided various obstacles at speeds up to 25 mph in an urban environment.
AMAS is a Joint Capability Technology Demonstrator, or JCTD; which means it's a joint program between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. The AMAS common appliqué kit consists of the bi-wire active safety kit and the autonomy kit. It uses Global Positioning System (GPS), Light Detecting Radar (LIDAR) systems, Automotive Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) and commercially available automotive sensors in order to make the system affordable. The AMAS JCTD goal is to standardize these kits across both the Army and Marine Corps and give the warfighter the ability to transform ordinary vehicles into optionally-manned vehicles.
Military and industry VIPs drove alongside the convoy in a bus to watch the unmanned convoy demonstration.
TARDEC is working closely with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), military users and the acquisition community to advance the development of autonomous appliqué systems for tactical vehicles and make these capabilities available by 2020.
Autonomy-enabled vehicles will reduce accidents while augmenting the warfighter and increasing capabilities by creating greater stand-off distance from danger, making supply distribution safer and more efficient, and providing the flexibility to adapt to tomorrow's ever-changing and evolving threats.
"The driverless vehicle is coming in both commercial and military applications," said Bernard Theisen, TARDEC's AMAS Technical Manager. "The Army is at the forefront of this technology."
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