Clemson, Army move ahead on autonomous tank.

PositionClemson University International Center for Automotive Research

This story first appeared in the March 7 print edition of GSA Business Report.

Some of the greatest losses over the past few wars in the U.S. have been in the supply line convoy, Sen. Lindsey Graham told an audience of engineers, politiciansand soldiers.

He hopes a total of $40 million from the U.S. Army piped into Clemson University's prototype development program for autonomous combat fleets may change that.

"This project here today is going to be transformative for the army," Graham told those gathered for the Feb. 28 announcement at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research campus. "And it is one of the most important days in the history of Clemson University."

The U.S. government recently committed up to $100 million toward the project moving forward as the university's Virtual Prototyping ofAutonomy-enabledGrounds Systems (VIPR-GS) Research Center rolls out design-to-build simulations and digital engineering technologies for theU.S.Army's development of on- and off-road autonomous vehicles.

The U.S. Army's DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center first invested $18 million into Clemson's program in 2020 and granted an additional $22 million Feb. 24.

"We would not be here today without the visionary leadership and steadfast support of my friend, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Congressman Jim Clyburn," Clemson University President Jim Clements said at the event. "Both of these great leaders wholly support the U.S. Army's mission, and they knew that leveraging Clemson University's research capabilities and automotive expertise here in the Upstate would create a tremendous and beneficial partnership."

David Gorsich, U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center chief scientist David Gorsich told the crowd that time is of the essence.

Russia has operated unmanned systems, including the autonomous Uran-9 tank, since 2015, according to Samuel Bendett, a U.S. Army national security adviser, inRussian Unmanned Vehicle Developments.

"The army has been in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have not been modernizing as quickly as Russia and China have," Gorsich said. "The Russians have released the Uran-9 robotic tank, and of course, they have hypersonic missiles. And so, as we look at where we're going, we need to desperately modernize based on the threats to this country and nation and to our way of life, and also, of course, to our NATO partners."

Uran-9 manufacturer Rostec Corp. announced in 2016 that the company would sell...

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