British semi-autonomous logistic convoys tested in U.S.

GRAYLING, Mich. The U.K.’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center, have hosted an experiment of prototype semi-autonomous logistic convoys with ground and aerial autonomous resupply systems at Camp Grayling Joint Manoeuvre Training Center.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.

It’s the first time these British-designed autonomous systems have been operated and demonstrated in the U.S. and is the culmination of a three-year collaboration between coalition forces and technologists, which has seen the testing of a range of driverless vehicles and novel unmanned aerial systems.

Logistical military operations often rely on manual delivery through troops moving backwards and forwards under fire. This experiment shows how unmanned systems will potentially allow the distribution of supplies directly to forward combat areas with fewer personnel at risk.

During the Michigan experiment, a multi-vehicle fully integrated U.K./U.S. convoy was operated, with the lead vehicle in various modes, including controlled semi-autonomously through the use of designated waypoints, with the following vehicles operating only from data sent by the lead vehicles and their own sensors.