US military agency DARPA is determined that the fighting vehicle of the future is all about mobility. Its Ground X-Vehicle Technology program (GXV-T) has long been dedicated to developing armored vehicles which are lightweight, responsive, and smart, able to autonomously detect and dodge incoming threats like rockets and navigate any terrain. Now, DARPA's vision is getting closer to reality, with the agency awarding contracts to eight institutions to develop its ideas. Carnegie Mellon, Raytheon, and SRI International are among those organizations chosen to create the "groundbreaking technologies" needed to make the GXV-T vehicles "mobile, effective, safe and affordable."
In the video above you can see DARPA's rough vision for what its vehicles would look like, but the research agency has also boiled down desired spec sheet into a few primary qualities. The GXV-T vehicles should be mobile — able to navigate all sorts of terrain, perhaps with the help of new suspension tech; they should be tough — capable of "autonomously avoiding incoming threats" either by dodging to safety or deploying extra armor; and they should be smart —offering semi-autonomous driving abilities, "360-degree visualization of data" for crew, and a range of sensors.
It's a substantial wish list, but the end result could radically change what we think of as armored vehicles on the battlefield.