25 Jan Oshkosh robotic truck returns to desert
The first driverless vehicle that Oshkosh Truck Corp. put through a 150-mile race in the Mojave Desert had a bit of a holdup – a piece of tumbleweed stopped it cold in 2004. In 2005 it reached the finish line without any help from human controllers.
Now the company is getting ready to return to the field with the second version of “Terramax,” its robot truck. The 10-wheeler could be used to haul supplies that U.S. troops need, but that the Defense Department would rather transport without risking soldiers’ lives.
Terramax 2 was tested this week in the Arizona desert. It will need to cover a lot more than just empty ground if it’s to be of practical use in a war zone. It needs to be able to navigate all sorts of rough terrain, as well as populated villages and cities that could contain enemies. That’s why the testing ground includes a mock city, and obstacles are thrown in the vehicle’s path.
The truck is a standard military vehicle of a type already in use; Oshkosh is responsible for making the “brains” that let it run without human intervention.
• Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: No driver required