The US Military has revealed a look at a radical new'ultra survivable' future combat vehicle. The secretive DARPA X-Vehicle project is designed to protect troops, and allow them to go almost anywhere. It features radical wheels that can convert from tires to tank tracks at the push of a button. DARPA says the aim of the project, officially known as the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program is to ''improve mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling on armor.' 'We're looking at how to enhance survivability by buttoning up the cockpit and augmenting the crew through driver-assistance aids,' said Maj. Amber Walker, the program manager for GXV-T in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. 'For mobility, we've taken a radically different approach by avoiding armor and developing options to move quickly and be agile over all terrain.'
Car makers, technology companies and governments now have a set of official guidelines to instruct trials of driverless vehicles in Australia. Published by the National Transport Commission and AustRoads, the guidelines [pdf] set out how autonomous vehicles can be tested on public roads in the country, and how triallists can seek exemption from permits and requirements such as Australian design rules (ADR) ahead of testing. Organisations that wish to trial autonomous vehicles must clearly set out the trial location and provide a high-level description of the technology used, the guidelines state. A traffic management plan that takes into account vehicle density, pedestrians, signage, and route complexity will also need to be provided. A comprehensive insurance policy is similarly a must.
As you can see in the video above, these concept vehicles look nothing like what's on today's battlefields. They're light enough to be carried in a Chinook's exterior sling, utilize a high-riding four-wheel independent suspension that maximizes ground clearance. In fact, as the video points out, these vehicles could be able to access up to 95 percent of terrain, making them virtually unstoppable while rendering conventional interdiction techniques, like blowing bridges, utterly useless. What's more, DARPA envisions the GXV-T as being able to autonomously identify and avoid incoming threats, rather than simply take the brunt of an attack, by actively repositioning its deflecting armor. The agency also wants to integrate semi-autonomous driver assists, similar to what you'd see in a modern airliner's cockpit, as well as 360 degree high-definition video and data feeds to give the crews greater situational awareness.
Bearcat vehicles can cost as much as $250,000; critics express concern over the militarization of police departments. Police departments nationwide have been stocking up on the Armored Incident Response & Rescue Vehicles, taking advantage of a federal program enacted in the 90s allowing law enforcement access to military-grade gear. The program was temporarily suspended by President Obama in 2015 but reinstated by President Trump last year. Mr. Trump signed an executive order lifting the ban on military gear to police departments. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the time that the restart would "send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence and lawlessness to become a new normal."