Ecollaboration sounds like a Disney World installation but it’s serious business for the U.S. Army. The Army’s Tank, Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) plans to have one of the biggest displays at next week’s SAE International 2010 World Congress, which will focus on collaborative automotive technologies that address sustainability issues, under the umbrella of the Ecollaboration theme.
SAE International is a professional organization that develops global standards for all types of motorized vehicles and the U.S. military has the largest fleet of vehicles in the world. Given the military’s increasing focus on climate change as an emerging threat to U.S. security, its enthusiastic participation in this SAE showcase is likely to influence future trends.
TARDEC and Sustainability
The TARDEC display (pdf) will consist of three installations. One is the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, which carries a power control unit that can input current from multiple sources including solar and wind, and convert them all to computer-grade electricity. Another is a pair of fuel economy related installations: the robotic Autonomous Platform Demonstrator that TARDEC uses to test hybrid-electric drive and other performance technologies, and the new Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle (a diesel-electric hybrid that uses 25% less fuel). The third area is an outreach and communication installation focusing on fuel efficiency and the cross-application of military and civilian vehicles, featuring TARDEC models along with student-designed concepts from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
TARDEC and Technology
By now we all know that the U.S. military invented the Internet a while back, and TARDEC demonstrates how the phenomenal power of military resources might once again cross over and steer a fundamental change in civilian technology. Even with budgets tightening, work went ahead last year on a brand new 30,000 square foot TARDEC research complex near Detroit, which consists of eight different laboratories focusing on sustainability and energy security.
Image: Courtesy of TARDEC.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.