Forget Uber, Waymo and Tesla: The next big name in self-driving vehicles could be the Pentagon. “We’re going to have self-driving vehicles in theatre for the Army before we’ll have self-driving cars on the streets,” Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defence for research and engineering, told lawmakers this month at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
“But the core technologies will be the same.” The stakes for the military are high. Fifty-two per cent of casualties in combat zones can been attributed to military personnel delivering food, fuel and other logistics, Mr Griffin said. Removing people from that equation with systems run on artificial intelligence could reduce injuries and deaths significantly.
“If [delivery] can be done by an automated unmanned vehicle with a relatively simple AI driving algorithm where I don’t have to worry about pedestrians and road signs and all of that, why wouldn’t I do that?” questions Michael Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at the Trump administration.
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This post may contain excerpts from an article entitled “Pentagon in Race Over Self-Driving Cars” published in The Business Times on 2 May, 2018.