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US military, Lockheed deem driverless convoy test a success

US military, Lockheed deem driverless convoy test a success

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The US Army, along with defense contractor Lockheed Martin say they've successfully tested an autonomous vehicle convoy system that does away with human drivers in the name of safety and speed. Lockheed ran the test in Fort Hood, Texas earlier this month, and says the driverless convoys successfully navigated all sorts of "hazards and obstacles" including pedestrians, other vehicles, and basic changes in road topography.

Works with any military vehicle

The test was part of the US Army and Navy's Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS), a program that automates vehicle controls with the help of sensors and computer-assisted systems for steering, gas, and brakes. That same system was also designed to improve human-controlled driving with early warnings when safety threats are detected. Lockheed says this particular convoy scenario was set up to run on the Army's M915 trucks and loader vehicles (pictured above), but can be fitted to work with "virtually any military vehicle."

Numerous companies, including Google, Tesla, Audi, BMW and Lexus, are all working on self-driving automobile technology. An effort in Japan last year also aimed to bring it to commercial delivery vehicles, creating convoys of trucks that stayed in formation at certain speeds to increase fuel efficiency, saving as much as 15 percent in gas. Lockheed says the aim of this particular system is primarily to get rid of the need for humans in these convoys, and potentially driving them faster with a little help from computers.