Oshkosh Truck Unveils Next Generation Unmanned Defense Vehicle

Posted on January 23, 2006

Following its successful completion of the DARPA Grand Challenge (see December Diesel Progress) Oshkosh Truck Corp. has unveiled an unmanned version of its Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicle at the U.S. Army Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Component Technology Demonstrations in Yuma, Ariz.

Showcasing the immediate application of the technology for the U.S. Army fleet, Oshkosh is demonstrating a real-world mission scenario as the driverless truck transports cargo between destinations seven miles apart in the Arizona desert. The unmanned navigational kit being applied to the PLS was tested at the 2004 and 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge races, and has undergone additional testing in desert environments, similar to those in the Middle East. Oshkosh is partnered with Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma, Italy, on the development this unmanned navigational kit.

The PLS transportation vehicle is a 10-wheel-drive truck and trailer system, designed to transport containers carrying ammunition and other critical supplies, or large tanks holding fuel or water and has been widely used in front-line supply missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The original PLS and the PLS unmanned ground vehicle have a 16.5 ton payload capacity and an on-board material handling system that quickly unloads and loads cargo.

"It is Oshkosh Truck's objective to always support the U.S. Army's drive to integrate the most capable and reliable technologies into their fleet. To that end, we're proud to make this next-generation of unmanned technology a reality that could be applied within the near term," said John Stoddart, Oshkosh executive vice president and president of defense. "Our technology allows soldiers to be taken out of convoy resupply missions or to be re-assigned to other tasks within the convoy."