Rheinmetall demonstrates art of the possible for autonomous trucks
Germany's Rheinmetall has successfully demonstrated its autonomous truck technology in a mixed US-German convoy. This was tested in an operational demonstration (OPDEMO) from 26 September to 7 October at the US Army’s Grafenwöhr Training Area in Bavaria.
Rheinmetall is conducting the InterRoC (Interoperable Robotic Convoy) research and technology project on behalf of Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw),
InterRoC encompasses two HX2 military trucks, each equipped with an autonomy kit (A-kit), and which alternate in accordance with the leader-follower principle. The first vehicle is driven manually, while the follower truck drives autonomously in its path, crewed only by a backup driver.
As well as primary inputs such as steering and accelerating, secondary functions like starting the engine or switching on lights are also controllable autonomously.
The project uses an A-Kit furnished by the German authorities, originally provided by the US under a project agreement. Rheinmetall’s role includes modifying the basic vehicles and integrating the autonomy function, together with commissioning and testing.
As part of its Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) project, the US Army uses the same A-kits in its Oshkosh trucks that Rheinmetall uses for InterRoC.
During the two-week OPDEMO, a convoy consisting of five vehicles tested different operating modes of the system in multiple variants. In the process, 1,051km were driven autonomously. The convoy also climbed a gradient of 40%, with the A-Kit operating the differential locks.
The vehicles were able to operate continuously for over 75min without manual intervention and maximum convoy length was 1,100m.
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