The Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) announced on Thursday that it has teamed up with Michigan Department of Transportation to test vehicles fitted with Car-2-X communication technology on a public highway.
Army tanks and jeeps will drive along the route that will include six roadside sensors. Those can also communicate with the vehicles and say, for instance, how many non-military cars have drove by a checkpoint in the past 24 hours.
Human drivers will be at the wheel of each vehicle, due to current road laws, but the data gathered from the tests will help vehicles sense potential obstacles, such as curves in the road or lane closures. This can be used to further improve the self-driving system.
It is yet unclear when The Army plans to deploy fully autonomous military vehicles. Doug Halleaux, public affairs officer for TARDEC, said that in the next few years he hopes to test platooning, where one lead truck controls the speed and direction of other vehicles behind it.
US military is keen on integrating more automated features in vehicles, which is worrisome considering all the harm caused by drone strikes in the Middle East. Hopefully, the technology will eventually become a tool for saving lives rather than destruction.