U.S. military conducts autonomous vehicle test in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

U.S. military conducts autonomous vehicle test in Michigan

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Thursday was a landmark for autonomous vehicle technology.

A convoy of autonomous trucks crossed an international bridge for the first time in North America and it happened at Port Huron's Blue Water Bridge.

"That was absolutely amazing. When we came back over the bridge from the Canadian customs side, the automated mode comes up and then you see the welcome to the U.S. Pure Michigan sign and it's in automated mode all the way across over the bridge," said Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The test run was another piece of evidence that self-driving cars could become a part of every day life.

The ride was also practice for a real life future use for the U.S. military. The technology of the autonomous platoons will be one day used stateside and overseas for the Army.

"You can now lessen the number of soldiers. A robot never gets tired. An autonomous vehicle never gets tired. So that vehicle can keep moving and you can replace the soldiers responsible for it. So the Army is now employing a manned vehicle leading seven unmanned vehicles," said Dr. Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering.

He said they hope to accomplish this goal over the next two years with the technology to be used commercially as well.

"And it maintained the distance. It was interesting watching the front vehicle crossing a pink line and our vehicle would follow exactly at the same spot the other vehicle was," Steudle said.

Self-driving car systems are evolving rapidly, but right now only vehicles with a human in the driver's seat are permitted on public roads.

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