We generally think of autonomous vehicles as the future of motoring that will help make the roadways safer and our commutes less boring. However, the U.S. military is looking at other ways of using this technology to keep their troops safe. For that, meet GUSS – the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate being developed by the U.S. Marines.
Showcased during the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, GUSS is a proof-of-concept vehicle showing how autonomous technologies could be used in military vehicle applications. GUSS is based on the ITV, which is a modern military vehicle currently used by the Marines that closely resembles the original Jeeps from World War II.
According to the description, the vehicle can be operated with or without a driver, and some reports say that it can even be driven by remote control. Since the video (see below) only shows the camera view of the driver compartment and through the windshield, we don’t get to see the full battery of technology used for this application, but it does look like there is a Lidar camera mounted on the hood. In a few parts of the video you can see the vehicle slow down and navigate military personnel who were standing in the road.
This technology was being tested as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, a multinational maritime exercise taking place on Oahu, HI at the Kahuku Training Area. Needless to say, such a technology would be an excellent tool to prevent troops from having to enter hostile territory.