Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Driven on the Battlefield?

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 2
Words: 286
Reading time:
< 1 min

Autonomous vehicles are vehicles that can self-operate without the use of a human driver. Some self-driving cars can still have a driver present to perform the general oversight and shoot back at the attackers rather than doing the driving. Unlike the situation with the small bots assisting on the battlefield, the US Army is more reluctant to give complete autonomous control to large military trucks. The reason for this is that the vehicles need to successfully avoid humans and other military equipment present on the road, which proves a challenge. Additionally, they need to pass through uneven roads, rubble, rocks, and trees without hesitation. Computer vision currently possesses these limitations, unlike humans. Thus, the US Army still prefers to have a human driver in the leading vehicle, while autonomous trucks follow behind. The trucks will likely gain complete autonomy if they prove their ability to withstand the battlefield conditions.

Despite some reservations, robotic research claims it is possible to implement such technology shortly. Contractors are already utilizing computer vision and sensors in trucks, with safety testing completed in 2019. The army will likely see 60 self-driving vehicles in 2020. Providing that the trials are successful, a large-scale production could be on the way in the next couple of years. Whether autonomous technology can completely replace standard trucks and tanks shortly is still up for debate, given the safety concerns and the imperfections with computer vision technology. Unlike the assistant robots, fully self-driving vehicles pose a much more significant risk to the troops and other military vehicles. Employing some human quality control on the battlefield will be imperative to ensure that this technology does not cause more damage than benefits.