The idea of fully autonomous or minimally manned truck convoys carrying supplies to troops on the frontline dates back to the beginnings of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The roadside bomb scourge took a heavy toll on civilian and military personnel alike, and the idea to minimalize casualties by reducing the number of drivers and guards took hold in the Army.
A decade and a half later, operations have wound down in those two countries, but senior military strategists say the tactic of attacking supply lines is here to stay. The so-called great power rivals took note of the insurgents' success and see disrupting logistics as a tactic in future fights.
After 15 years of work, the Army has yet to fully commit to semi-autonomous convoys. Meanwhile, the technology is progressing outside the military.
"Robotic ground vehicles are quickly maturing in the commercial sphere and could potentially save lives and increase efficiency if utilized in Army convoys," this RAND report released in January said. "However, it may...