In eight months, the US Army will embark on a new, multi-phase series of tests to assess the viability of, and educate troops on how to operate, autonomous combat vehicles.
The US Army’s efforts to lower the number of boots on the ground will reach a new level in March 2020 as the service branch begins its three-phase testing program in Fort Carson, Colorado.
The first phase, according to the Army’s July 11 release, will be the first time US soldiers have operated the modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles, known as Mission Enabler Technologies-Demonstrators (MET-Ds). The upgraded equipment features a remote turret for the combat vehicle’s 25-millimeter main gun and a 360-degree situational awareness camera system.
The Army announcement also touts that touch screens will be a new technology utilized in their “enhanced crew stations.”
For a month, US Army soldiers will be operating two MET-Ds, each carrying one driver, one gunner and four soldiers in the vehicle’s rear, tasked with conducting “platoon-level maneuvers with two [M113 armored personnel carrier] surrogate vehicles that fire 7.62 mm machine guns.”
Throughout the process, soldiers will deliver feedback to the US Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) for future autonomous vehicle research.
“We’ve never had Soldiers operate MET-Ds before,” reads a statement from David Centeno Jr., chief of the GVSC’s Emerging Capabilities Office, in the announcement….