Duty Calls: The Ford F-150 Is the Army’s Latest Guinea Pig
TEN-HUT, there’s a new troop reporting for duty known as the Ford F-150. The Army has recruited this truck as its latest guinea pig. A few unique features make the Ford F-150 the perfect option for this military project involving autonomous driving.
The Army recruited the Ford F-150 for autonomous driving tech
Salute the Ford F-150 as it could soon drive itself onto the battlefield without a person behind the wheel. Technical and legal challenges may prevent self-driving tech for civilians, but the military isn’t subject to the same regulations.
That’s why Kodiak Robotics is working on its first prototype of an autonomous military platform. The first autonomous F-150 model was delivered in November for thorough testing. The Army is evaluating the F-150 for navigation, reconnaissance, surveillance, and high-risk missions.
The F-150 was selected because it serves as a good baseline for future vehicles with similar tech. It has a good amount of interior space for computers and solid off-roading capabilities. However, suspension tweaks were made to improve its performance.
If testing goes well, the next step involves implementing the system on purpose-built vehicles or for the armed forces to utilize.
How does the autonomous F-150 work?
The Ford F-150 was ready for duty in about six months because Kodiak applied existing autonomous tech from the semi-trucks it’s been working on. The system uses modular DefensePods that can be applied to any vehicle.
The DefensePod sensors have a mix of lidar, radar, and cameras that autonomously operate the vehicle. It works with degraded GPS systems and can operate through rocks, dust, mud, and water. It can be controlled remotely or as normal.
Plus, the DefensePod requires minimal training and is easy to operate. It can easily be repaired in 10 minutes or less to stay in action during missions.