The two helicopters putter above a barren landscape, toting beneath them four-wheel vehicles. Looking like vehicles ripped from the “Halo” video game franchise, these two speedsters dart across the rugged terrain, handling uneven ground like it’s second nature.
While these vehicles aren’t yet a reality, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released a simulation video showcasing what the agency’s Ground X-Vehicles Technology (GXV-T) program hopes to develop.
And they’ve taken a step towards bringing the GXV-T to reality by recently awarding contracts to eight organizations.
“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 program manager Major Christopher Orlowski in a statement. “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 contracts were awarded to Carnegie Mellon University, Honeywell International Inc., Leidos, Pratt & Miller; QinetiQ Inc., Raytheon BBN, Southwest Research Institute, SRI International.
The program hopes to develop vehicles that revolutionize wheel, track, and suspension technologies to improve performance on all terrains including slopes; and give occupants high-resolution, 360-degree visualization data, allowing for a closed-cockpit.
Other capabilities of interest include the ability to autonomously avoid incoming threats, “vertical and horizontal movement of armor to defeat incoming threats in real time,” and “improved ways to avoid detection” by reducing visible, infrared, acoustic, and electromagnetic signatures, according to DARPA.
DARPA reported that the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have indicated interest in the futuristic vehicle.
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