Army researches shared software between unmanned vehicles

WASHINGTON — Seeking to bolster its development of unmanned vehicles, the Army is using a separate acquisition path for software, paving the way for future coordination between platforms of all sizes.

The army includes a combat vehicle modernization as a top priority. The service sought to develop three types of robotic vehicles – light, medium and heavy – to be used as “scouts” or “escorts” for crewed combat vehicles.

Light and medium versions of the vehicle are being tested at Fort Hood, Texas. However, earlier this year the service announced that it would postpone its mid-size vehicle program, opting to focus on smaller platforms first.

When it comes to light vehicles, the Army will pay close attention to the acquisition path the service uses for vehicle software, Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, told reporters on Wednesday. logistics and technology.

“From an acquisition perspective, we’re focused on … software, which will be essential for all ground-based robotics programs in the future,” Bush said. “Getting it right early will be key.”

By developing the software separately from the vehicles themselves, the same software could be used on multiple platforms, potentially improving coordination and communication between vehicles.

The software acquisition pathway for the program will focus on on-board software development and sustaining activities, such as autonomy software, control station software and payload control software, as per the Army fiscal year 2023 budget justification documents.

The pathway will also incorporate feedback from soldiers and other integrators into product roadmaps.

Bush said that while the military still has a broad interest in robots many sizesthe service focuses on light vehicles as it sees this as a necessary first step.

In 2020, the Army selected QinetiQ North America will produce light vehicle prototypes and Textron to build medium versions.

According to budget justification documents, in fiscal year 23, the military launch a competition for new light vehicles. Over the next five years, the service plans to spend nearly $750 million to develop light vehicles and the software acquisition path.

Catherine Buchaniec is a journalist at C4ISRNET, where she covers artificial intelligence, cyber warfare and unmanned technologies.

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