Seven military trucks traveling at speeds up to 40 mph were the focal point of the driverless line-haul convoy demonstration successfully conducted by U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and industry partner, Lockheed Martin at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina on May 29th for an audience of Army and industry senior leadership.
The Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) -- Capabilities Advancement Demonstration (CAD) II 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.
The AMAS CAD II demonstration focused on pushing the convoy-like scenario with increased speed and additional vehicles. "If we can give the warfighter this capability … we can save lives," stated Dr. Greg Hudas, TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics Chief Engineer.
AMAS is a Joint Capability Technology Demonstrator (JCTD); a program between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps working together toward a goal of standardizing the AMAS kits across both organizations and giving the warfighter the ability to transform ordinary vehicles into optionally-manned vehicles. "Currently, one of the greatest threats to our men and women in the field is the roadside bomb," explained Bernard Theisen, TARDEC's AMAS Technical Manager and Ground Vehicle Robotics Engineer. "This technology would enable us to send an unmanned lead vehicle down these dangerous supply routes and keep our warfighters safe."
The AMAS common appliqué kit consists of the bi-wire active safety kit and the autonomy kit. The technology 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.
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."
To watch the AMAS CAD II demonstration, visit http://www.dvidshub.net/video/340001/2014-autonomous-mobility-applique-system-capabilities-advancement-demonstration-ii-amas-cad-ii