Australia invests $3.5 million to develop a convoy of autonomous military trucks

According to information published by the Department of Defense of Australia on October 28, 2021, a $3.5 million Australian Army project to develop a convoy of autonomous trucks that use technology to follow the leader has passed a key milestone by successfully completing a series of road trials.
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Australian army has tested the use of autonomous trucks to conduct convoy missions. (Picture source Australian DoD)

The autonomous leader-follower vehicle technology, using modified Land 121 40M cargo trucks, was developed under a contract between the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI) at Deakin University, and Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO).

The trials took place over a two-week period at Defence’s Trials and Proving establishment at Monegeetta, Victoria, and involved a five-vehicle convoy.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the development of robotic and autonomous systems were vital to meeting Australia’s future operational challenges, including for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and in combat operations.

The Australian Army, through RICO, continues to work with IISRI and the Australian Road Research Board on the potential transfer of the capability testing onto public roads with further refinement, performance enhancement, and understanding of road rules.

In July 2021, the Australian Army has conducted Autonomous Leader-Follower experimentation at Monegeetta in collaboration between the Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation & Coordination Office, Deakin University, and the Australian Road Research Board.

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