Autonomous Vehicles Passionately Embraced By US Army

military-convoyOne of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. military is also one of the least-known: Logistics.

While civilians might think of logistics in terms of packages and delivery times, logistics experts in the military have some of the most dangerous jobs around: Planning and executing supply convoy runs in contested, dangerous terrain, for example.

With the U.S. Army’s enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles, greater security and efficiency may soon be realized. Thanks in large part to cutting-edge vision and imaging technologies, including thermal imaging, new “robotic” vehicles are becoming operationally sound.

Autonomous Vehicles a Strong Bet for Deployed Military

Virtually no sign of troops’ presence is more visible than vehicles. To enhance personnel safety and make dangerous missions – like search-and-rescue – faster and safer, automated vehicles cater to the needs of both troops on the front lines and their commanders.

Using advanced machine vision combined with radar, automated convoys may soon be able to follow a lead vehicle driven by a human. This would substantially reduce the workload on Army drivers and put fewer service personnel overall in harm’s way.

Although the Army is at the forefront of this innovation, it’s not the only group experimenting with vehicle “platooning.” Commercial truck companies are also working on new ways to automate driving and improve safety.

The Army’s research will continue in mid-2016, where a road test along Michigan’s Interstate 69 will test road-to-vehicle infrastructure with up to four autonomous vehicles. Future iterations will follow the pace of vision component and camera technology closely.