Where's my goddamned Johnny Cab?
The US Army says it has successfully conducted a test in which not just one but an entire convoy of unmanned, autonomous, robotized military lorries successfully drove through "urban areas" on their own without crashing into anything or running over any pedestrians. US Army robotised trucks. Credit: Lockheed Goddammit, …
They most likely tested it on one of the MOUT ranges at Fort Irwin, Fort Bliss/White Sands Missile Range, or Fort Polk.
For those of you that don't know, A MOUT range is a bunch of corrugated shipping containers vismodded to look like a town in most of the middle east, or its quick and dirty and looks like a bunch of containers. The good ones are generally as chaotically arranged as a place like Mazar-i-Sharif or Tal Afar as well. So I'm naturally curious as to how much marketing spin is being employed here and whether the robot HEMTT was limited to MSRs (Main Supply Routes, bigger roads) or if it could handle link routes and other smaller roads as well.
Personally, I'd really like to know how the motherfucker handles checkpoints without running over the security team. I don't especially want to get run over by the robot truck. After nearly being run over by people driving LMTVs and HEMTTs it does make me nervous.
Plus no robot's gonna be able to respond with its guidance system blasted out or if something irregular happens that requires a Soldier's judgement and experience to make the correct call on. So the drivers will still be there in some form to take over control of the convoy and also in smaller vehicles to run security on the convoy, but it will free up a number of the MPs and Infantrymen who generally provide convoy security nowadays. If the Army does it correctly, which is a big if.
"... and/or peppered by enemy fire in ambushes ..."
Why they'll fire, it'd be as simple for the enemies to stand up and wave hands to stop the convoy. The only tough task remaining would be blowing up the gates of the trucks.
So, as a true patriot, I suggest that the vehicle must have some self-defense capabilities as well. Bazooka anyone ... ?
Go back to your hole ... you villager !
I understand. But that's exactly one of the reasons why you aren't a colonel.
Given that, I think, the US airforce are getting annoyed that their Army are now "flying" drones .... and worse, using non-officers as "pilots" then maybe its a chance for payback time with the USAF starting to ramp up squadrons of self-drive trucks! So if not Colonel then how abaou Squardron leader?
I seems to me it would be a lot more effective to use remote drivers, the way they pilot drones. A real mind to cope with all the complexities of the road in a battlezone, but no exposure to a real human being. The autonomous system could serve as a backup in the case of jamming.
Quote: 'I seems to me it would be a lot more effective to use remote drivers, the way they pilot drones.'
I would suspect they can do this anyway, as it would be simple to implement once you have the rest of the autonomous processes in place. And would be useful as a backup for things where the truck isn't sure what to do, or some part of the autonomous system breaks down.
But I suspect there would be too many issues for this remote driver mode to be used under normal circumstances. Couple of thinks I can think of :
1. Latency. With drones not really an issue, as you're flying through empty space (hopefully), so no pedestrians suddenly jumping out in front of you. For anything requiring quick reflexes, by the time a remote driver had received the images/warning, and responded to it, it would already be too late.
2. Comms: With a drone, you're up in the air, so would have line of site for a lot of the time, and then satellites once beyond the horizon. A truck on the other hand would be in valleys, driving through tunnels, under bridges etc. At which point your going to loose comms, so for a remote driven vehicle, you'd still need to have a fully autonomous mode for those situations, and if you have full autonomy, not really much point have a remote driver.
With drones in the air, they can fly escort on convoys and look out for such things as well as providing commlinks to drivers elsewhere. Why be dependent on just one set of inputs in one location?
OTOH the trucks must be capable of autonomous operation if cut off from comms.
>supply trains for any enemy clever enough to push the on switch on a GPS spoofer
There aretechniques for coping with that situation. Basically, the system uses GPS or GLONASS, but as it does so it builds an 'atlas' of other radio (across a range of frequencies) sources, such as civilian broadcast towers which it can fall back on should someone try and spoof the GPS.
"So they can pay the Dartford crossing"
NOT for much longer though !
The Dartford - Thurrock River Crossing
Introduction of remote payment
From October 2014 there will be changes to how you pay to use the Dartford crossing. You will no longer stop at the crossing barriers to pay the charge, instead payment will be made:
on the phone
at retail outlets
So they'll need robot fingers to punch the phone ( not whilst driving!)
This mil spec stuff trickles (dribbles) down plebwise soon enough and then all lorry drivers everywhere will and can look for work elsewhere. The fallout should be interesting. Roadside diners will tumbleweed away. Hmm, maybe even embed a power strip in the highway so the convoy never need stop until destination reached. They best perfect organ cloning quickly because it would be fun to see the next hundred years play out.
Yes. Vehicle drivers of all types are a doomed breed, they'll go the way of lamplighters and switchboard operators within the next decade or two.
I'm not entirely sure that "fun" is how I'd describe the likely events the next 100 years, but I agree it'll be interesting. What will humans do the day robots and computers do everything better, faster and cheaper than a human can?
this is just a rehash of an earlier story already done on this site "2 Days ago"
so in all fairness here was my post
Buy shares in Military Supply companeys
Jihadist / insurgents with RPG + loads of reloads take out the vehicle wheels convoy is stopped until its repaired
others scatter loads of IED devices to hinder the repair/recovery
think the convoy owner ( US military )would abandon the convoy as the cost of recovery in $$$ and lives outweighs the risk.
Jihadist loot convoy end result is US military feed and supply the Jihadist / insurgents
The Future of Your US TAX payer Dollar
icon indicates IED Minefield ahead ""
I hope they forewarned pedestrians and other road users that there was an increased danger of
A: Getting run into
B: Unable to claim from the driver for any injuries or damage
C: That the soldier/Scientist sat in the cab txting or using Google glasses is not actually driving
On a serious note they may still need the cab and human control instrumentation because the vehicles may still need shunting by an actual real person in depots for loading and unloading.
Probably not. Convoys don't usually get much direct air in and of themselves, they may get a Kiowa running RSTA if there's somewhere that someone feels like seeing up close as to how they local rabble respond to being poked at by the route clearance company initially and then the convoy and its security later on. But there's no gunships following along with a convoy, its a waste of a gunship to do that. At least I've never seen a gunship providing overwatch for one without doing something else at the same time.
Generally they attempt to pick routes for convoys in places that we're either directly holding at the time or can secure pretty quickly, but no Army can be at all places at all times and when you're fighting insurgents, so they can generally appear, attack, retreat and disappear pretty fairly freely so its a guessing game if they're any good.
They always have a security team along with the convoy on the ground with them though. And the engineers usually go through first to make sure the road's passable and try to open it if it isnt.
"a bunch of strategically placed cardbord schoolchildren will stop the convoy."
Perhaps. OTOH, if the software has been written by Men In Black or some similar secretive organisation, the trucks will be programmed to drive right over the little schoolgirls milling about on roads in the land of Mujahaddins...
No driver also makes it easier, politics wise, to add a remote self destruct system. If the truck gets to the destination it unloads the container and returns home. No danger to the troops. If it detects a road block or deviation from the set course it alerts the base that the self destruct timer has been initiated and waits to see if base sends the stop signal. If no stop is received - boom.
So: unmanned supply vehicle or exploding trojan horse. win-win.
The trucks would never get as far as the terrorists.
The first village the convoy comes to, a few people stand in the road. Convoy stops. A swarm of villagers climb over the trucks and remove the cargo and anything else moveable.
A couple of minutes later the aerial surveillance arrives and finds empty trucks and no sign of the cargo.
I wouldn't expect these military robotic cars to be any worse than Google's robotic cars -- and I doubt they'll be sent into hot zones without backup.
No more easy revenue for the breathalyser cops who will perhaps be allowed to do something worthwhile and Bonus, no insanely boring but cheap to produce TV shows covering it.
I'll bet they ensure that the law says that the person in the car is 'in charge' of the AI and must be sober.
"I'll bet they ensure that the law says that the person in the car is 'in charge' of the AI and must be sober."
In fact I believe this is already covered by the law - e.g., consider cases where you have a learner driver, who must be supervised by someone with a licence. They still have to be sober, and this is covered IIRC by some law about being "in charge" of a vehicle. AI cars that still require a licensed driver to supervise will no doubt still be covered.
It'll be interesting how things go if the law is changed to allow truly driverless cars, without a requirement for anyone to have a licence. It would be a shame if Governments try to insist that there is still a notional person "in charge" of the vehicle - this would also limit applications such as driverless taxis.
Any UAV or helicopter shadowing a convey makes for a nice radar or infrared beacon to let the other side know a convoy is on the road. The same sort of problem exists for carrier air groups. The CAP generally paces the fleet. Overlay some data over time and a nice pattern (or line) emerges.
Driverless convoy vehicles also means there is no mechanic available. A very simple problem is unrepairable. What if a fuel line becomes disconnected or a battery lead falls off; it's a 5 minute fix for a human and a lost shipment without. Kinda sucks to be self-destructing expensive trucks full of gear because somebody didn't tighten up a bolt properly.
As far as Google's hallucination about self-driving cars, the insurance companies haven't had their say yet. People are still better at adapting to changing situations than computers at this point. UltraGlobalPRT has some great concepts to extend their pod car system that is running at Heathrow to include other automated vehicles that work to the same spec.
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