The Autonomous Mobility Applique System system developed by Lockheed Martin — an applique kit composed of sensors, controls, and actuators that can be installed on essentially any military tactical wheeled vehicle, thus providing a variety of semi autonomous driving features to users — logged over 55,000 real-world testing miles during the recent US Army Extended Warfighter Experiment that took place in Texas and Missouri.
What the Autonomous Mobility Applique System (AMAS) does, essentially, is provide users with semi-autonomous leader/follower capability and driver warning (driver assist) features — the idea being to notably improve convoy operations and free up manpower for other purposes.
The Combat Manuever Systems director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Kathryn Hasse, commented: “The testing was conducted by Soldiers and Lockheed Martin personnel over several months at two major military installations in a variety of mission scenarios. Soldiers operating the AMAS vehicles provided us very positive feedback about how the system freed them up to do the job of a Soldier instead of the job of a truck driver.”
Green Car Congress provides more: “Testing of the AMAS system during the EWE (Extended Warfighter Experiment) included using Palletized Loading System vehicle convoys in which the lead vehicle was driven by a Soldier and the following vehicles (3 to 4) followed robotically.”
Whatever one may think about the matter, it’s clear that the US military (and others around the world) intend to use whatever autonomous vehicle tech arises for their own purposes, as well as developing their own.
With that in mind, and all of the warning signs this should go along with it, I do have to wonder about the sort of resource/power requirements that would be needed to truly “autonomize” large-scale warfare — it would seem to be prohibitively high, wouldn’t it? Especially as we enter further into an age of economically recoverable resource and energy scarcity (which we clearly are, whatever some utopians might like to claim). I guess that there’s a tradeoff, though, in that the fewer actual humans that are necessary, the lower the food and accommodation resources that are needed … it’s hard to say where exactly the line would be drawn regarding the most energy/money-efficient balance of autonomous tech and human reliance.
It’s worth noting here, though, that humans certainly don’t need high technology to effectively make war — as has been demonstrated again and again throughout history when high civilizations with professional armies equipped with the best technology that money can buy have been worn out, outlasted, and/or wiped out by what are effectively hillbillies, “backwards” peoples, or mass migration flows.
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