US Army concludes experiment with heavy robotic combat vehicles

The US Army today concludes a month-long experiment with heavy robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) at Fort Carlson, Colorado. The experiment

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The US Army today concludes a month-long experiment with heavy robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) at Fort Carlson, Colorado.

The experiment forms part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team—established as part of a military modernisation effort geared towards operations against near-peer adversaries like China and Russia—as the US looks beyond conflict in the Middle East.

Washington has been evaluating the performance and potential utility of heavy RCVs for over a year. Considering the rough and inhospitable terrain that military vehicles are typically required to traverse, any situational awareness of ground robots for seamless integration into military units is still years away. Yet the tests were deemed a success as they clarified crucial technological aspects related to command and control software; the team hopes to resolve navigational issues before the planned battery of subsequent test runs, scheduled to take place in Fort Hood, Texas in 2022.

As Russia has already invested heavily in its own diverse fleet of robotic armoured vehicles and China has made distinct advances in autonomous and AI-enabled weapons systems, expect an accelerated rivalry to prompt the development and introduction of such systems at tactical and operational levels.

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