US Army Begins Testing Autonomous Vehicle Technology in Michigan
The United States Army is taking the next big step in autonomous vehicle technology. This military branch has begun testing for a short-range radio technology that will communicate between the tractor trailers in a convoy of Army vehicles. This is a major leap towards driver-less military vehicles.
Through this system, the convoy trucks can communicate with each other and with sensors along the road, providing information like the convoy’s location, speed, and current driving conditions. Testing for this system will take place in Michigan on a 21-mile stretch of Interstate 69 in St. Clair and Lapeer Counties. This location is close to the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineer Center (TARDEC), which is located in Warren, Michigan.
The testing of this new technology will mark the first time TARDEC will be testing this autonomous system on a public roadway, though the research center has been testing the tech for multiple years.
“In the future, when we’re integrating more automated features in vehicles, we need to make sure they operate on public roadways,” said Doug Halleaux, public affairs officer for TARDEC. “This is the first step in getting to that point.”
TARDEC has chosen Michigan as its testing grounds not only because of the center’s location. Michigan is currently one of the few states that have the connected vehicle infrastructure for testing. The I-69 route alone will have a total of six roadside sensors that will allow the vehicles to send out data regarding their progress.
As for the convoy, it will appear completely normal. Despite the fact that the Army wants to eventually have driverless military vehicles, this particular convoy will have drivers in full control. It will be four vehicles in length, which is the perfect amount to predict the dangers of the road ahead.
News Source: The Detroit News