Automating Army Convoys, Technical and Tactical Risks and Opportunities
RAND ARROYO CENTER SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
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The U.S. Army has thousands of ground vehicles and is interested in harnessing the potential benefits of emerging self-driving technology. In theory, automation could create efficiencies and save lives by reducing the number of personnel operating in combat zones. The use of automated trucks in convoys is of special interest Recent combat operations have continually demonstrated the vulnerability of convoys due to their fundamental requirement for delivering sustainment supplies over long distances of unsecured routes. This operational reality of convoy missions makes them particularly vulnerable to attack and ambush. Given that fully automated convoys are not yet feasible, the Army research and development communities have been testing automated truck concepts in which manned and unmanned vehicles perform cooperatively in convoy operations. These concepts are promising because they have the potential to reduce the number of soldiers needed in a convoy, but the technical and tactical feasibility of these concepts need further examination. It is not fully understood what kinds of technological and operational changes these concepts of using automated trucks in convoys will introduce. Thus, it is important that the Army carefully consider the state of the art and the potential changes this new technology may introduce in order to manage with foresight. Understanding the need for full analysis, the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support PEO CS and CSS asked RAND Arroyo Center to assess the risks that automated truck acquisition may experience in development and wider Army operations.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Navigation and Guidance
- Land and Riverine Navigation and Guidance