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Army brigade combat teams testing autonomous robot vehicle

Issued: 2018-03-26

In the coming months, the Army will select one of four autonomous robotic systems that can carry up to 1,000 pounds of gear for the infantry squad and give them to two brigade combat teams for testing.

The Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport has been under testing for some time but not within operational forces.

Top leaders for both robotics and autonomous vehicles talked with media following a week-long robotics competition that included college and high school students and industry experts. The event was part of the Maneuver Force Experimentation at Fort Benning, Georgia, this past week.

The U.S. Army is no stranger to teaming manned aircraft with unmanned ones, but it is now tackling how to approach the concept with ground vehicles.

Officials didn’t say which BCTs would receive the vehicles.

Col. Travis Thompson, who oversees the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command capabilities for soldiers, said that the competition to provide the supply-hauling vehicle began with 10 companies. The list is now down to four.

Details of the vehicle currently being tested were not discussed during the event, but leaders said that it could carry up to 1,000 pounds of gear for an infantry unit on patrol, reducing the load on the individual soldier for items such as food, water, batteries and ammunition.

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