A convoy of driverless U.S. Army trucks uses Lockheed Martin AMAS technology to move along a South Carolina roadway at 40 mph.

Unmanned convoy passes second driving demo

The Army’s Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin passed the latest round of tests validating the ability of driverless military-truck convoys to operate  safely in a variety of environments.

In the most recent demonstrations, the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) completed a series of fully autonomous convoy tests involving an unmanned leader vehicle followed by a convoy of up to six additional, autonomous follower vehicles operating at speeds as high as 40 mph.

The tests doubled the length and speed of convoys previously demonstrated under the program, Lockheed said in its announcement.

Earlier this year at Fort Hood, Texas, AMAS completed the first series of separate tests in which two driverless Palletized Loading System prime movers and an M915 tractor trailer truck interacted with a manned gun truck escort.

The convoy negotiated oncoming traffic, followed rules of the road, recognized and avoided pedestrians and various obstacles, and then used intelligence and decision-making abilities to re-route itself through a maze of test areas to complete both complex urban and rural line haul missions, according to TARDEC.

The Unmanned Mission Module part of AMAS, which includes a high-performance LIDAR sensor, and additional algorithms, is installed as a kit and can be used on virtually any military vehicle.

The AMAS hardware and software are designed to automate the driving task on current tactical vehicles.

The Army expects AMAS not only to keep soldiers at safe distances from dangerous situations, but also to provide them with increased situational awareness on manned missions. The robotic modes free up the vehicle crew to watch closely for enemy threats, while still leaving them the option of manually taking control of the vehicle if necessary.

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