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Photos: Robots on the road to safer convoys

One way to reduce the risk to military trucks lumbering down supply routes is to take the driver out of the driver's seat, as demonstrated at the Robotics Rodeo.

Mark Rutherford
The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.
Mark Rutherford
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Lockheed Martin and TARDEC

One way to reduce the risk to military trucks lumbering down supply routes is to take the driver out of the driver's seat, as was demonstrated Thursday at the Robotics Rodeo at a sprawling Army installation here in Fort Hood, Texas.

The rodeo--sponsored by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), and by III Corps--gives companies a chance to show off their related wares.

TARDEC had its own system on display at the rodeo's convoy event. Lockheed Martin demonstrated the Convoy Active Safety Technology (CAST) system along with its AutoMate sensor and actuator kit on two TARDEC 2.5-ton trucks.
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Triple Delphi ACC 3 radars

Triple Delphi ACC 3 radars, seen mounted here, are part of Lockheed Martin's convoy automation system.
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Convoy automation system

Lockheed Martin demonstrates its convoy automation system, which means there's no human driving that second truck.
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Disappointed troops

Troops at the Robotics Rodeo were first invited for an autonomous ride-along, but were then asked to dismount, Lockheed Martin/TARDAC orders. That accounts for the disappointed faces.
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Intel Pentium 1.6

The Intel Pentium 1.6 is part of the convoy automation system.
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Kill switch

As is the all important kill switch.
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GuideLine system

Autonomous Solutions demonstrated its GuideLine system, wherein a lead truck transmits angle and length data to a vehicle automation system, which in turn drives the "followers."
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Autonomous Solutions 5-ton truck

The Autonomous Solutions/Boeing 5-ton truck uses a Kevlar tether system to maintain proper distance between vehicles.
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GuideLine bumper-mounted sensor

The GuideLine system's bumper-mounted sensor, with a Kevlar tether hanging out.
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TerraMax

Oshkosh Defense demonstrated its TerraMax autonomous vehicle system. Its Command Zone electronics system provided drive-by-wire capability, while the new IBEO LUX laser scanner augmented the 360-degree obstacle detection.

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