Fort Leonard Wood Demonstrates New Driverless Vehicles

Published 12/02 2013 06:59PM

Updated 12/02 2013 07:02PM

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- A vehicle without a driver used to be the stuff of science fiction. Now it's reality.

Monday, Dec. 2, at Fort Leonard Wood a company showcased its technology as a part of the base’s Transportation Days.

The people at Fort Leonard Wood say their small tram represents limitless possibilities for environmental sustainability, transporting troops and keeping soldiers out of harms way.

One look at the small tram and it's what you don't see that can make a difference.

You won't see a driver and you won't see a tailpipe. This driver-less vehicle is electric.

"So we are doing the research here with easy to understand systems like buses that will then be applied to the bigger army mission," says Kevin Palmer, from FLW Sustainability.

The army and this installation are examining how this technology can be used.

"What the army is looking at for this Post in particular is automated bus systems to move troops around because we move a lot of troops around at Ft. Leonard Wood on an annual basis," says Palmer.

So while a handful of people, including the Post’s commanding general, rode this tram as part of a demonstration, the Post is looking to move thousand with this technology in the future.

“We’ll be looking at more traditional 40 to 80 person buses that will drive themselves,” says Palmer. “There's a big robotics effort the army is looking at as well to better understand how to use robotic systems in the mission."

"All of those technologies are great once they are proven as we saw some of the things today,” says Major General Leslie Smith.

And what saves fuel and manpower now, could save lives down the road.

“The less places you've got to put soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines especially it harms way, it always helps us to do those things," says Smith.

The demonstration was just one small facet of a larger sustainability project that includes the use of electric cars like Chevy Volts and carpooling for soldiers.

The commanding general says this is a promise the fort must keep to future generations.


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