Kodiak Robotics has clinched a $49.9-million contract to automate the US Army’s future ground vehicles.
The initiative is part of the service’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program to build light, medium, and heavy variants.
The company will leverage its commercial self-driving software to allow the army to perform reconnaissance, surveillance, and other high-risk missions safely.
Its autonomous vehicle technology will enable RCVs to traverse complex terrain and operate in diverse operational conditions.
The company’s platform will also allow for smooth operations in GPS-challenged environments.
“We are proud to have the opportunity to leverage our cutting-edge self-driving technology for defense applications, and believe our work with [Defense Innovation Unit] and the US Army will both help strengthen national security,” company founder Don Burnette said.
Kodiak will produce, test, and integrate the autonomous capability into future driverless military vehicles over 24 months.
The RCV Program
The US Army’s RCV program seeks to develop a “revolutionary capability” that would change the conduct of future warfare based on the belief that artificial intelligence-powered technologies will soon dominate the battlefield.
Developing a family of unmanned and configurable platforms would reportedly provide decisive lethality and improved situational awareness to military units.
It would also enable commanders to employ external and onboard weapon systems while reducing tactical risks to soldiers.
The US Army originally planned for the RCVs to be controlled by operators riding in Next-Generation Combat Vehicles. However, recent development shows that a single operator can manage multiple RCVs.
Kodiak’s role in the program will ensure that the vehicles possess improved flexibility and resiliency while “reducing risk for soldiers and saving the lives of US servicemen and women.”