Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2020-02-02

Oshkosh Defense Delivers Autonomous Vehicles

The U.S. Army’s 5th Transportation Company, 100th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) recently received some of the first Leader Follower systems in the Army for training and evaluation. The initial three vehicles are the first of 30 that will be received by 100th BSB.  An additional 30 vehicles were received at Ft. Polk in Q4 2019. 
 
Oshkosh has been developing autonomous technology for over a decade and is in the best position to support the U.S. Army in its modernization efforts moving forward.
 
Oshkosh began its autonomy efforts with the TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle in 2004.  Over the course of 10 years, the system was tested and evaluated on the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) for cargo missions, and the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) for route clearance missions.
 
Since 2015, Ground Vehicle Systems Center (formerly TARDEC) has been working with an industry team on the Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) program and the Expedient Leader-Follower (ExLF) program with focus on validating Leader Follower concepts for eventual autonomous convoy implementation. 
 
Oshkosh Defense manufactures and integrates the By-Wire Active Safety Kit (BWASK) as part of the ExLF and AGR programs.  Oshkosh is leveraging what they learned from TerraMax and applying it to new vehicles in the form of BWASK as part of the U.S. Army’s current autonomy initiatives. The U.S. Army has selected the Oshkosh Palletized Load System (PLS) to be the first of the tactical wheeled vehicle fleet to field this technology.  Other platforms are also candidates.  
 
Oshkosh’s BWASK provides the electronic interface for the LF system, enabling safe, fail-operational automation of the vehicle driving functions, as well as the following Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS): Electronic Stability Control, Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning to significantly improve driver safety. These technologies give operators additional awareness, control and response-time needed to keep crews safe and maintain operational readiness every day; no matter the weather, terrain, convoy position or mission.
 
The PLS has been an integral part of the U.S. Army’s resupply and distribution fleet for over 25 years and by equipping these vehicles with autonomous capabilities, soldiers’ exposure to enemy threats can be reduced significantly by taking them out of the vehicle altogether while operating in highly contested areas. The technology associated with ExLF and AGR allows the vehicles to be remotely controlled or teleoperated from another vehicle within the convoy. The autonomy software is modular, so that it can also accommodate advanced autonomous behaviors such as waypoint following, advanced convoy formations, and obstacle detection and avoidance.  These behaviors have been demonstrated as part of AGR.  
 
The technology is also designed to be optionally manned at any time.  A soldier could be present in any, all, or none of the vehicles based on the specific mission. 
 
Under the contract, Oshkosh will integrate an initial 60 vehicles for Operational Technical Demonstrations (OTD) at Ft. Sill and Ft. Polk. 
 
Oshkosh Palletized Load System (PLS) 
The PLS has been built to carry ammunition and other critical supplies and has proven its ability in front-line resupply missions in all types of environments and terrains. Its 600 horsepower Caterpillar C15 engine is often referred to as the backbone of the resupply and distribution system, providing efficiency and performance for loading, unloading and delivering materials. It carries a wide range of cargo and is designed to load and unload a variety of flatrack or ISO compatible containers on its own with a hydraulic load handling system (LHS). Without leaving the cab, the operator can load or unload the truck in less than one minute, and both truck and trailer in less than five minutes – increasing mission efficiencies and safety while reducing personnel fatigue and risk. No additional material handling equipment or forklifts are needed.
 

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