U.S. Army to Test Autonomous Robotic Assistance in Ground Vehicles

The U.S. Army is preparing for summer demonstrations of automated machine assistance—known as robotic wingmen—for ground combat vehicles like tanks and Humvees. This would give ground forces better situational awareness for targeting and maneuver, while helping limit the possibility of casualties. The move is part of a larger Pentagon effort to gradually introduce more autonomy, artificial intelligence, and common control of unmanned systems to forces over the next 25 years.
The Cipher Take:The U.S. military has already made progress in teaming manned and unmanned aircraft in the field, but teaming ground vehicles with unmanned systems is proving more difficult due to demands for navigating rough terrain. As the robotic wingman program advances from automated to semiautonomous, it will give combat vehicles leader-follower capabilities and waypoint GPS navigation based on obstacle detection and avoidance. The goal is to have fully autonomous wingman programs by 2035 that share common neural cognition with other systems for swarm capabilities. At the same time, there are efforts to ban the development of lethal autonomous weapons. Earlier this month, 89 governments formalized deliberations over lethal autonomous weapons systems at the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) by moving to establish a Group of Governmental Experts.


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