Autonomous ground vehicle

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An autonomous ground vehicle is a vehicle that navigates and drives entirely on its own with no human driver and no remote control. Through the use of various sensors and positioning systems, the vehicle determines all the characteristics of its environment required to enable it to carry out the task it has been assigned.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, Public Law 106-398, Congress mandated in Section 220 that "It shall be a goal of the Armed Forces to achieve the fielding of unmanned, remotely controlled technology such that… by 2015, one-third of the operational ground combat vehicles are unmanned.” DARPA conducts the Urban Challenge program in support of this Congressional mandate. Every “dull, dirty, or dangerous" task that can be carried out using a machine instead of a human protects our warfighters and allows valuable human resources to be used more effectively.

Google, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo have conducted research and created prototypes, but no driverless vehicles have been authorized for use on public roads. Fully autonomous vehicles are still a thing of the future, as Florida, California and Nevada only allow testing and require a licensed driver behind the wheel.[1]


  1. Clearing the road for self-driving cars - Financial Times - September 9, 2013

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