The Case for Distributed and Remote Management of Open Standards-Based Tactical Networks for Vehicles


Published in Military Embedded Systems

To exploit the potential benefits of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, video analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and virtual reality, and other innovative technologies on mobile platforms at the tactical edge, the Department of Defense (DoD) communications programs must effectively deploy advanced IT infrastructure, connectivity, and compute resources. The Army understands this need: It is investing in research, standardization, and demonstration to ensure that future vehicle networks deliver these benefits while minimizing cost, enabling rapid fielding, and facilitating ongoing modernization. These moves also leverage modular, open standards-based COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] technologies.

The Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross-Functional Team created the Mission Enabling Technology Demonstrator (MET-D) as part of the effort to deploy advanced mobile IT infrastructure. MET-D is a cutting-edge experimental system of vehicles developed to help Army leaders determine how best to integrate unmanned robotic vehicles, advanced networking technologies, and future sensor capabilities into ground combat formations. MET-D provides a look forward 10 to 20 years into the future of what military operations may look like, with the primary objective of reducing risk to soldiers.

For example, MET-D platforms leverage the latest sensor technology, data display, consolidated capabilities, modular open standards, innovative graphical user interfaces, drive-by-wire capabilities, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance video, and advanced communications systems. The MET-D manned fighting vehicle (MFV) can remotely operate robotic combat vehicles (RCV) designed to make contact with the enemy before soldiers do, while simultaneously providing overmatch against additional operating environment threats.

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