by John McHale
Remember the Sam Peckinpah movie Convoy starring Kris Kristofferson from the 1970s about outlaw truck drivers? Imagine if all the trucks were robots.
Lockheed Martin engineers are working on such an unmanned vehicle convoy concept. Ok, not exactly robots, but a system that enables military convoys to be unmanned, thereby cutting down on casualties from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Lockheed Martin concept is called Convoy Active Safety Technology, or CAST, and it uses kits that turn military transport vehicles into autonomous vehicles. According to the Lockheed data sheet it uses Lockheed's AutoMate sensor and actuation kit that enables lateral and longitudinal control of different tactical wheeled vehicles relative to a lead vehicle within a five-vehicle convoy.
Lockheed Martin officials claim that CAST reduces fatigue, eliminates rear-end collisions, and enhances operator situational awareness. The system also has night-vision capability.