US Army to test autonomous vehicle tech on Michigan roads

Uncle Sam is taking baby steps compared to full-scale automakers.

The state of Michigan has become a hotbed of autonomous vehicle testing of late, with multiple automakers and the University of Michigan getting in on the action. And now, the US Army is taking advantage of the mitten-shaped state's accommodating attitude towards driverless vehicle testing.

But the Army is taking baby steps instead of yanking soldiers out of the driver's seat. The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, based across the street from General Motors' Warren Tech Center, is using short-range communications tech so vehicles can "talk" to each other, The Detroit News reports. The vehicles can transmit their location, speed, and driving conditions between each other and a series of road-side sensors. This data allows vehicles to pick up on brake lights, curves, bridge heights, lane closures, and other obstacles, The News reports.

"In the future, when we're integrating more automated features in vehicles, we need to make sure they operate on public roadways," Doug Halleaux, public affairs officer for TARDEC, told The News. "This is the first step in getting to that point."

The four-vehicle convoy will run along a 21-mile stretch of Interstate 69 in St. Clair and Lapeer counties.

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