DARPA aims to make future military vehicles lighter, cheaper, and smarter

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants military vehicles to keep pace with advancing technology, so it’s calling on eight organizations to develop futuristic concepts for tomorrow’s battle wagons.

The Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program is meant to counteract the rising cost of developing and deploying military vehicles by applying more technology to their design. For now, the goal is not to develop a new combat-ready vehicle, but rather to develop technologies that could be applied to such vehicles.

Organizations awarded contracts are a mix of established defense contractors and research institutes. Corporate entities include Raytheon, Honeywell International, Leidos, U.K. defense firm QinetiQ, and Pratt & Miller (which also happens to run the Corvette Racing team for General Motors). Also onboard are Carnegie Mellon University, the Southwest Research Institute, and SRI International.

“We’re exploring a variety of potentially groundbreaking technologies, all of which are designed to improve vehicle mobility, vehicle survivability, and crew safety and performance without piling on armor,” Major Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager, said in a statement. Adding armor is the most straightforward way to protect soldiers in a vehicle, but it forces comprises in performance, fuel efficiency, and deployment costs.

The GXV-T program will focus on four main areas. “Radically Enhanced Mobility” calls on engineers to develop new wheel/track and suspension technology to enhance off-road ability and allow for higher top speeds. “Survivability through Agility” asks for autonomous capabilities, specifically the ability to reposition armor on the fly. “Crew Augmentation” also focuses on autonomous capabilities, including semi-autonomous driving. Finally, “Signature Management” is about making vehicles harder to detect, be it through visual, infrared, acoustic, or electromagnetic means.

DARPA did not discuss a timeline for unveiling the results of GXV-T program, but said the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have both expressed interest in the technologies the program is intended to develop.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Podcasts

Hotel bots, Autonomous hotels, Brainscans, Comedians, A robot named Marty

On today's podcast we're joined by comedians Jeremiah Coughlan and Tyler Boeh! We'll take a look at the use of 'future technology' that is is about to be deployed soon. From automobiles, to grocery store assistants, to a japanese hotel that…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.