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U.S. Marines Test Self-Driving Support Vehicle On Battlefield: Video

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Self-driving cars aren’t all cute, cuddly, Google-powered bubbles. Some of them are big, gnarly, and potentially life-saving military machines. This is one of the latter in action.

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Built for the United States Marine Corps, the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate, or GUSS, is intended to help ground troops get from place to place in a safe manner, without the need for a crew onboard, even across rough terrain.

As shown here in testing by the Marin Corps Warfighting Lab at the Kahuku Training Area on Oahu, Hawaii, the GUSS is quite capable. But unlike many self-driving car designs, this one isn’t totally dependent on the computer for its navigation and driving functions. When necessary, the driver can get behind the wheel and take over.

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It’s not yet clear when or where the GUSS system might be deployed, but it’s clearly designed to retrofit to existing vehicles via a sensor and control package, so it’s possible GUSS-type military vehicles could be on battlefields around the world in the near future.

The life-saving potential is immense, especially in areas where improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs may pose a threat to vehicles that troops on foot would otherwise avoid.

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