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The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is embarking on a project to make military ground vehicles safer, faster, and smarter. The Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) programme seeks to build a ground vehicle that is resistant to armour-piercing weapons without hurting its speeds and without increasing development or deployment costs, Military Embedded Systems reports. DARPA chose eight organisations to work on the project.

“We’re exploring a variety of potentially groundbreaking technologies, all of which are designed to improve vehicle mobility, vehicle survivability, and crew safety and performance without piling on armor,” said DARPA programme manager Major. Christopher Orlowski. “DARPA’s performers for GXV-T are helping defy the ‘more armor equals better protection’ axiom that has constrained armored ground vehicle design for the past 100 years, and are paving the way toward innovative, disruptive vehicles for the 21st Century and beyond.”

The eight organisations that were awarded contracts to work on GXV-T are: Carnegie Mellon University, Leidos, Britain’s QinetiQ, SRI International, Southwest Research Institute, Pratt & Miller, Raytheon BBN, and Honeywell International.

The research will be focused on four main areas:

Radically Enhanced Mobility will seek to enhance navigation in difficult and diverse off-road terrain, with particular attention to suspension technologies and improvements to wheel/track technology.

Survivability/Agility will emphasise autonomous threat avoidance without harming vehicle occupants. Capabilities of interest include active armour movement and agile motion of the vehicle.

Signature Management will attempt to reduce vehicle visibility and detection in visible, infrared, electromagnetic, and acoustic spectra.

And finally, through Crew Augmentation the project will attempt to improve situational awareness for crew and passengers through physical and electronically assistive technologies.