UK and US forces test UAVs and driverless trucks for front-line logistics


The US and UK armies have staged a joint-demonstration of robotics capabilities in the state of Michigan. The demonstration was a collaboration between the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl); the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC); and the US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).

Driverless 4×4 truck convoys, tele-operated by soldiers, joined unmanned aerial vehicles in the Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) demonstration, which showed initial capability in unmanned tactical resupply incorporating a combined line-haul convoy and autonomous last-mile ground and air capabilities.

The UAVs demonstrated included the British-developed Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike. An advanced prototype quadcopter drone, it can deliver more than 100kg of supplies, all using a simple tablet controller. The drone has potential to be used for humanitarian aid, carrying a casualty away from danger. This was the first time this version of the Hoverbike has been unveiled.

The last-mile represents the final leg of the logistics and resupply route between the most forward base and troops in the field and can be the most difficult and dangerous stage of logistics support to a combat zone. The line-haul convoy is the first time ever that a UK-US collaboration has joined together in this way, with a British Army MAN SV 6-tonne (HX-60) truck as a leader vehicle in the convoy, followed by two US light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV) trucks.

Jeffrey Ratowski, TARDEC’s project leader for CAAR’s involvement, said, “We’re using US and UK soldiers to control multiple robotic assets including the convoy, the autonomous last mile- ground piece, and there’s also an autonomous last-mile air piece.”

November 16, 2017

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