Military Trucks Drive Themselves in Convoy, Future Looks Scarier by the Day

For several years now, the automotive industry has been hard at work developing various degrees of automation for road-going vehicles. The goal is to eventually transform cars into machines that can safely drive themselves with no human input. Turns out, military contractors and other players have been doing the same, only behind closed doors.
Rheinmetall modified MAN truck 6 photos
Photo: Rheinmetall
Rheinmetall modified MAN trucks
After earlier this month we’ve learned of a Black Hawk flying itself with no crew onboard during a training mission, we now learn of military trucks being capable of forming convoys and driving themselves to where they’re needed.

The announcement was made by German company Rheinmetall, presently involved in a project called Interoperable Robotic Convoy (InterRoC). We’re told two of its products, namely the HX2 military trucks, managed to drive themselves in a leader-follower principle.

During a demo held back in September and October we’re only now learning about, Rheinmetall successfully tested the concept. The first truck in the convoy was driven by a human, while the one behind, despite having a soldier on board for safety reasons, did all the work by itself.

This was possible thanks to something called an autonomy kit. The same as the one used by the U.S. military on its Oshkosh test trucks, it controls not only steering and acceleration, but also engine start, lights, and differential locks.

At the moment, the kit is still in testing stages, with Rheinmetall tasked with “modifying the basic vehicles and integrating the autonomy function, together with commissioning and testing.” So far, the trucks have already driven autonomously for a total of over 1,000 km (621 miles), while running by themselves for 75 minutes continuously without human intervention.

It’s not clear if and when autonomous machines using this tech will become available for large-scale military use, but the company is already eyeing integration with the American Oshkosh in mixed convoys.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Editor's note: Gallery shows various Rheinmetall-modified trucks, not the ones used in InterRoC.

press release
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories