We would have never guessed that this would be the US Army’s first autonomous vehicle, and it’s for a great cause!
Despite the surprise the advancements in autonomous tech that this may bring are huge. How long until the knowledge gained from an autonomous golf cart rolls over to autonomous military trucks?
The US military is badass. They’re always at the forefront of technology. People just like you and me use some of the things they created for them every day.
GPS, Epipens, Computers, the internet, JEEPS and now Autonomous Vehicles.
Off-camera: It’s golf carts
Oh, and now autonomous golf carts?
Hey guys, Ken here with 4WheelOnline. We put out a new video every friday, so make sure to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest truck, Jeep and automotive news. So if you want to know how a golf cart relates to trucks, keep watching to find out.
Autonomous tech is one of most exciting industries right now. I mean, Ford just announced their plans to have fully autonomous vehicles on the roads in 2021, Uber is about to launch self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, then Google and Tesla have been teasing us with fully autonomous cars, and trucks, for what feels like forever.
The US Army has even been testing out autonomous convoys on the roads in Michigan.
So what makes an autonomous golf cart so captivating?
This could potentially be the first fully autonomous vehicle on the road if everything goes to plan. Although it wouldn’t drive on public roads, the Army is using Cushman Shuttles in their tests to bring soldiers from their barracks about a half mile to Womack Army Medical Center
The small vehicle will be using roads and other compact pathways to get to its destination. Some of these paths may not include traffic signs or lane markings that most autonomous tech relies on. That’s going to make it tough.
Does it still sound boring? Think of it this way: For the engineers working on this project this is a huge opportunity to put their ideas and tech into real world use.
TARDEC which is the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center believes that the lessons learned from this limited use scenario will be used as building blocks for future autonomous vehicles both on and off the battlefield.
Now, creating the technology required for fully autonomous vehicles is taking a long time, and that’s probably a good thing. Testing is important. When these cars and trucks hit the road they should be ready, not just “good enough”
The DARPA Grand Challenge was the first driverless car competition back in 2004, and since then the field has expanded at a faster rate than anyone could have predicted.
No one knows where these autonomous golf carts will lead but there’s already unmanned truck solutions like Oshkosh’s TerraMax system. Eventually military trucks may be fully autonomous allowing for convoy vehicles to be heavily armored more like a tank. Keeping the soldiers much safer while travelling through hostile regions.. At some point maybe we’ll see the tech in trophy trucks or ultra4 racing.
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Until next time, I’m Ken with 4WheelOnline and you’ve just been refreshed.