US, UK demo last mile resupply capabilities
The US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have joined forces to develop autonomous last-mile resupply capabilities.
During August’s Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) event three different autonomous resupply capabilities were demonstrated, including semi-autonomous convoy of large cargo and two types of autonomous last-mile capabilities.
For the convoy demonstration, GVSC showcased its leader follower capability with two robotic High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and two robotic Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, together with the UK’s two HX-60 utility trucks, equipped with GVSC’s Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) robotic kits.
This six-vehicle convoy moves bulk cargo, and then the supplies are broken down into smaller units for autonomous last-mile ground and air delivery to units that may not be near a transport road.
The last-mile ground resupply, the final chain of the logistics mission, was demonstrated with a semi-autonomous Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) vehicle outfitted with GVSC autonomy sensors and a non-lethal Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station providing defence. The vehicle is operated using waypoint navigation-guided autonomy and teleoperation from a controlling HMMWV. The UK Viking UGV demonstrated resupply to the MUTT to show last mile assets working together.
A number of autonomous last-mile air capabilities were also demonstrated, showing the ability of UAS to lift and drop cargo including ammunition, food and medical supplies into forward areas.
Peter Stockel, Dstl’s autonomy innovation lead, said: ‘This has been instrumental in learning how to technically integrate the different capabilities, but importantly in helping the British and US armies understand the potential tactics, techniques and procedures together on the battlefield.
‘Building over the last three years, we have gained significant insight into the reliability and maturity of state-of-the-art autonomy technology. This major exercise by key Western partners working together demonstrated how to make the battlefield easier, less risky, and more reflective of the operational future.’
The experiment is expected to yield information and lessons to guide future application of AMAS technology.
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