German defense manufacturer Rheinmetall has introduced its latest robotic ground vehicle equipped with a high-tech autonomy kit.
Based on the Wiesel platform, the Autonomous Combat Warrior (ACW) Wiesel can support soldiers during missions in challenging environments. It can be operated manually, remote-controlled, or fully autonomous by programming waypoints on a tablet.
The ACW Wiesel has advanced sensor systems enabling it to avoid obstacles and follow a lead vehicle in convoy mode. It can also detect soldier behavior, further improving the safety of operators.
According to Rheinmetall, the robotic vehicle utilizes a state-of-the-art autonomous kit applicable to tracked and wheeled vehicle systems, including trucks from the HX series, GTK Boxers, and the Lynx vehicle family.
A video uploaded by the defense company on social media shows the capability of the robotic platform on both dry and wet terrain. It also showed how the cutting-edge vehicle is driven using a tablet.
— Rheinmetall (@RheinmetallAG) December 10, 2021
‘Most Advanced Combat System’
Rheinmetall chief engineer Russell Gallagher explained that the autonomous system integrated into the ACW Wiesel acts as the “brain” for mapping the different waypoints and managing the flow of data from the sensors.
He also revealed that the vehicle uses a drive-by-wire system that controls the engine, gear shift, throttle response, brakes, and steering.
The company has added several other cutting-edge systems to the robo-vehicle for effective terrain detection using advanced light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology and making tactical decisions based on environmental conditions.
“ACW’s goal is to fundamentally change the way in which land vehicles support military operations by transforming a vehicle from tool to teammate to provide currently unachievable levels of soldier protection, support, and tactical advantage,” Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said last year.