DARPA’s Grand Challenge at 15: how far have autonomous military vehicles come?

The irony of the Grand Challenge, however, is that despite the competition predominantly focusing on how autonomous technologies could be used for military applications, armed forces around the world have ultimately been slow to adopt self-driving vehicles for combat operations.

Even the US DoD, with its huge research and development budget, has still not fully rolled out self-driving vehicles and continues to work on several projects in areas such as autonomous convoy missions, and robotic combat vehicles that work alongside manned assets in armoured formations…

Armoured combat vehicles with well-trained crews can travel cross-country at blistering speeds and self-driving vehicles can only be relevant in combat scenarios if they can keep up and fight with humans at the objective. Initial iterations of these vehicles will likely be remote-controlled – similar to how Predator drones still have a human crew – rather than being fully autonomous.