Soldiers with the Army’s 1st Armored Division wrapped up their latest training evolution showcasing the Army’s newest capabilities in autonomous resupply vehicles, according to an Army release.

The demonstration was conducted at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Michigan.

Soldiers carried out the training using the Army’s latest automated technology known as Autonomous Ground Resupply, or AGR. The testing evolution consisted of soldiers conducting manned and optionally unmanned resupply missions.

“Sustainment and resupply convoys are critical to providing combatant commanders with freedom of action, extended operational reach, and prolonged endurance,” said Bernard Theisen, a project manager with the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, in a press release. “We’re focused on reducing Soldiers’ vulnerability to the effects of enemy action when conducting this important mission.”

One component of the training evolution was testing a new capability known as leader-follower “where a lead vehicle in a convoy is manually driven and the following vehicles in the convoy receive data and commands from the lead vehicle,” the press release reads.

The latest successful demonstration of autonomous robotic systems by TARDEC highlights a growing sense of importance by the Pentagon to incorporate drone and automated technology in nearly all aspects of U.S. military operations.

In August, TARDEC demonstrated the use of drone tanks and automated tactical vehicles that included tethered drones and automated machine guns and mortar systems.

Furthermore, the Marine Corps is developing an automated resupply robot known as the Expeditionary Robotic Platform, or XR-P. The XR-P wrapped up a successful test of its capability to rapidly load and unload Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys with mortar and artillery rounds. The new capability will lighten the load and speed up resupply operations for Marines.

“These evaluations are a major step,” said Theisen in the press release. “This is the first evaluation of the new optionally manned architecture that enables fully unmanned followers in a leader-follower convoy.”

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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