The Australian Army has scored an Australian first in vehicle autonomy successfully operating an autonomous truck convoy on a Victorian highway.
As part of the ‘Leader-Follower’ trial, a convoy of four autonomous Army trucks followed a crewed ‘leader’ vehicle on a public road in Victoria (pictured).
The National Transport Research Organisation and Deakin University supported the Army to conduct the trial – the first time an autonomous convoy has operated on an open public road in Australia.
Colonel Robin Smith from the Army’s Future Land Warfare said the autonomous vehicles had performed well in the trial.
Colonel Smith said: “This trial showed how a convoy could undertake a resupply mission between an airfield and a military base, giving us an idea of how this kind of technology could be used in the future.
“Driving on a highway in traffic meant the technology was tested to stop safely, and leave distances between other vehicles, while following the path set by the leader.
“Down the track technology like this could remove our soldiers from dangerous environments, or help free soldiers up for other roles.”
During the highway trials, the Army simulated an autonomous resupply mission between Mangalore Airfield and Puckapunyal using the Goulburn Valley Highway and the Hume Highway.
The Leader-Follower trial is part of Army’s modernisation, which includes exploring human-machine teaming, quantum technology, artificial intelligence and electrification.
The Australian Defence Force is gaining experience utilising autonomous vehicles.
BAE Systems Australia has previously installed locally-developed autonomous operation hardware and software in twenty M113 AS4 Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCVs) and delivered them to the Australian Army.
BAE Systems turns M113 personnel carriers autonomous
Picture: Australian Army