DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program, announced earlier this year, aims to move away from the traditional battle tank paradigm – creating a new class of faster, more agile vehicles that are better at negotiating terrain and detecting targets. Today, the agency has provided the first details on what this new breed of ground-based armoured vehicles might look like.
While a lot of military research continues to focus on adding greater resilience to existing vehicles, DARPA’s new initiative is tackling the problem in a different way. The goal of the GXV-T program is to create a new type of all-terrain vehicle that’s smaller, faster and provides the crew with a similar level of awareness as that afforded to fighter pilots.
The agency is focusing on the latter point first, working to improve the situational awareness of the vehicle’s driver by means of heads-up visualization technology. A concept video has been released that highlights a number of potential technologies and approaches that may make their way into the final vehicles.
The heavily armored nature of battle tanks means that situational awareness is inherently lower than with other vehicles, such as fighter jets, where wide-angle cockpits are the norm. DARPA’s concept aims to tackle this by providing the driver with a closed cockpit that incorporates visualization technologies to provide wide-angle, high-definition visibility of external conditions.
The projected display shown in the video is able to highlight optimal routes over difficult terrain, show both infrared and terrain classification views, as well as visually track both allies and adversaries. The concept vehicle also includes autopilot abilities, allowing the driver to focus on strategic activities and decisions.
Having only been announced in August, GXV-T is still in the early stages of development, though DARPA is hoping to see the first vehicles roll out within two years of the April 2015 contract award date.
Check out the video below for more on the new GXV-T concept.