WASHINGTON — The Army recently put on display several autonomous military vehicles for a gathering of senior Army leaders and researchers at the Maneuver Center of Excellence on Fort Benning, Georgia.

The demonstration on Aug. 22 featured a robotized Polaris MRZR military all-terrain vehicle with a tethered drone, an automated M113 armored personnel carrier, and a self-driving Humvee with an automated machine gun.

“Using vehicles in this way increases options for commanders and enhances soldier and unit effectiveness during high-risk operations such as breaching, obscuration, sustainment and reconnaissance, and security against an evolving enemy in complex environments,” officials said in a press release.

The event was the culmination of nearly three years of hard work by the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center; Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center; and the Office of Naval Research, the press release said.

The purpose of the demonstration was to broaden horizons and expand the realm of possibilities by using repurposed older military vehicles, according to Maj. Alan Stephens, a lead project officer.

“We haven’t figured out how we want to use this,” said Robert Sadowski, a senior researcher with TARDEC.

“We can use robots to do those things they do well and offset those things that humans do well,” he said in a press release. 

The autonomous vehicles will help lessen the burden on soldiers deployed down range and reduce risks to troops on the battlefield.