Tech

Watch a tank-like autonomous vehicle conquer everything in its path

Rheinmetall's Mission Master XT is a supply mule that can cart over a ton of supplies for soldiers on the battlefield.

Autonomous vehicles are poised to do a lot of things, like cart people to work hands-free, rid motorists of having to find their own parking spots, or on a more serious note, reliably hauling over a ton of supplies into battle while traversing various forms of treacherous terrain.

In the latter category, the Mission Master XT is here to help

This formidable pack mule is the creation of a Canadian division of German defense company, Rheinmetall, and while it may look like a tank, it’s actually primarily designed to support soldiers on the battlefield in various other capacities that don’t actually include directly assaulting enemies.

An autonomous system the company calls Rheinmetall PATH uses 3D LiDAR cameras positioned in the front and rear of the vehicle to navigate without human intervention. Optionally, the vehicle can be controlled by a joystick like the one seen here.

Though not its primary purpose, the Mission Master XT can also (of course) be equipped with a gun, missiles, or drones according to Popular Science. In this scenario, a group of Mission Master XT’s would attack in a “wolf pack” style, in which two vehicles play the role of scouts while a four-vehicle offensive unit waits for deployment.

In addition to autonomously carting 2,204 lbs. worth of supplies, the Mission Master XT can traverse all sorts of tough terrain, including ice, snow, and even water while carrying its full payload.

Mission Master XT can climb hills at a 35-degree angle

460 miles

The Mission Master XT runs on good, old-fashioned diesel fuel and has a range of 460 miles.

Rheinmetall says that the Mission Master XT is as durable as it is versatile. Low-inflation tires are able to withstand gashes of up to three-quarters of an inch and automatically adjust their inflation levels based on the terrain.

You an also hop on and take it for a ride

More likely than not, the Mission Master XT would be deployed in an assistive capacity to soldiers trudging their way through a battlefield, but the fact that there’s an offensive capability to the vehicles at all makes them more than a little eyebrow raising.

Let’s just hope the autonomous features stick to navigation only

David Bathgate/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

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