Over the past few years there has been a shift within higher level Army leadership and the benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) have started to be realized and embraced. Program Offices have also become open to the idea of using AM to support their sustainment problems and be considered in future vehicles. With a focus on readiness, the Army now sees that AM has the potential to improve ground vehicle performance, reduce ground vehicle weight, lessen the sustainment burdened, and provide the warfighter with the ability to produce parts at the point-of-need. This has led to the development of an Army-wide campaign that outlines how technology will be transitioned to the soldier. Additionally, the Army has set up the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross Function Team (CFT) as one of their Modernization Priorities. As a part of NGCV, the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) will offer robotic ground vehicle capabilities to the Army’s fleet. Current efforts are being worked to provide technology demonstrators for the RCV that will showcase the versatility of AM. Other past efforts include the Ground Vehicle Robotics (GVR) Bot where AM was successfully used to print a fully optimized robotic platform that increased mission effectiveness. These efforts will be covered in greater detail throughout the presentation. Furthermore, this presentation will focus on the current state of AM within the Army, including capabilities and major efforts, as it pertains to autonomous ground vehicles.
- Understand the current state of additive manufacturing within the Army as it relates to Army autonomous ground vehicles
- Describe the benefits and challenges associated with implementing additive manufacturing technology into Army autonomous ground vehicles