The demand for unmanned combat vehicles has been urging the industry to shift development programs. BAE Systems has resurrected its Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle (ARCV), originally developed for the Future Combat Systems program, as the company aims to meet a demand arising from the recently published army strategy on robotics and autonomous systems.
According to defensenews.com, the US Army debuted a draft form of its robotics and autonomous systems strategy last fall, but only recently officially published the strategy.
This prompted BAE to bring its development to the Association of the US Army’s Global (AUSA) Force Symposium to attract interest in the realm of the possible for the future for a large, unmanned ground vehicle that can deliver firepower and perform reconnaissance missions, Jim Miller, a BAE Systems business development director, said.
The vehicle uses a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor to navigate autonomously and has a powerful 30mm cannon, a popular gun in the Army currently. Miller said he hopes bringing the vehicle to AUSA will help the Army create a dialogue with key industry players on when it might want to integrate robotic systems such as the one BAE is proposing, or what aspects of the autonomous technology used on the vehicle could be integrated into current and future systems.
Miller explained: “My sense is we are moving in the right direction, and the timing is right to look at this capability again. Perhaps the Army won’t go straight into fielding an armed unmanned ground vehicle, but the technology could be used to develop in other methods”.
The feedback BAE gets will determine how it invests in the technology going forward, according to Miller. Other countries are testing the waters when it comes to armed unmanned ground vehicles.