Just a Bunch of Autonomous Convoys Driving Around an Army Base

A glimpse of the military's future: Fewer soldiers, more autonomous vehicles.
Reuters

Last month, General Robert Cone, the head of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, gave a speech that the service's future configuration. In short: fewer soldiers, more "lethality."

How's that? Cone said that in the years and decades ahead, the Army could scale back its brigade combat team—dramatically—from 4,000 to 3,000 soldiers or thereabouts. To make up for the loss in manpower, the service would turn increasingly to robots. Robots could perform many of the support tasks soldiers currently are saddled with, sparing American lives while, as Alexis put it, "giving the Army more killing power per brigade."

Now, a new video from Defense Update provides a glimpse of how that future might look. Recently, the a collaboration between the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin demonstrated their autonomous systems technology, and how it might be applied in urban environments on a variety of types of vehicles.

The demonstration, Defense Update reports, was a success: “The AMAS CAD hardware and software performed exactly as designed, and dealt successfully with all of the real-world obstacles that a real-world convoy would encounter,” David Simon, program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control for the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS).

The project, Defense Update explains, is "aimed at completely removing the soldier from the cab," leaving only robots on the line. That's the goal: a more lethal force, deadly to somebody else.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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