US Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center to Perform Tests on Autonomous Technologies
US Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center to Perform Tests on Autonomous Technologies

US Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center to Perform Tests on Autonomous Technologies

U.S. Army engineers work hard to develop new autonomous vehicle capabilities for the Warfighter. This summer, engineers and technicians from the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) are gathered at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center to perform tests on the new software before turning over vehicles to Soldiers for their feedback. At the South Forward Operating Base (FOB), the focus is on the Expedient Leader Follower Program, while at the 30 Complex the focus is Robotic Combat Vehicles, or RCVs.

“We have all the software engineers and developers from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center and our associate contractors here conducting what we call our ‘shake-out’ testing,” said U.S. Army Maj. Benjamin Hormann, a Military Project Officer for GVSC Ground Vehicle Robotics whose focus is on Expedient Leader Follower, a semi-autonomous technology integrated on a set of the Army’s Palletized Loading Systems (PLS) and the Marine Corps’ Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR). “We want to make sure we can place the vehicles into a robotic state.”

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Expedient Leader-Follower trucks at Camp Grayling, Michigan, have been loaded with autonomous technology by U.S. Army engineers and technicians. The trucks are being tested to ensure they can be operated unmanned.
Expedient Leader-Follower trucks at Camp Grayling, Michigan, have been loaded with autonomous technology by U.S. Army engineers and technicians. The trucks are being tested to ensure they can be operated unmanned. (U.S. Army photo by Kennedy Thomas)

The engineers and developers are creating new behaviors into the software for Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) and loading it onto vehicles. The new autonomous behaviors are a game-changer for combat on the front lines, and will ultimately lead to more advances in U.S Army technology. RTK is the government-owned software based on the Robot Operating System – Military (ROS-M). US Army want to make the interfaces between the components of AGR and RTK work together. The new software created for the leader-follower technology is unlike any others the Army has used. There’s definitely a higher level of autonomy than ever before.

Engineers at the 30 Complex have integrated autonomy software onto RCVs, and have been performing tests on these prototypes. That autonomy greatly decreases risks for Soldiers on the front lines. It allows the Soldier to sit back from a more guarded position and push the vehicles out in front in order to complete their mission from a safer distance. The ultimate goal here is to keep Soldiers out of danger. US Army want to save lives. The technology being developed and tested at Camp Grayling is extremely unique and is expected to be used for several generations. “Robots are the future— that is a guarantee.”

 U.S. Army engineers and technicians at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Grayling, Michigan, are testing Robotic Combat Vehicles equipped with autonomous software so they can be operated from a distance.
U.S. Army engineers and technicians at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Grayling, Michigan, are testing Robotic Combat Vehicles equipped with autonomous software so they can be operated from a distance. (U.S. Army photo by Kennedy Thomas)
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