|A Most Unusual ATV This ATV has been equipped to drive by itself. The sensor box has been mounted high as possible to give it wide a field of view as possible. A self driving ATV might appeal to a lazy outdoorsman and doesn't scream intimidation, but its larger Chinese autonomous cousins, like the ZSD-63 armored personnel carrier, certainly will grab anyone's attention. AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|ZSD-63 Autonomous UGV The ZSD-63 is one of China's first AFVs, having entered into service in the 1960s, with multiple hospital, recon, mortar, troop transport and antitank variants. This ZSD-63 have been modified to drive autonomously, as indicated by the three front mounted sensors, which include video cameras, and presumably LIDAR and radar for navigation. AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|QLL-05 Drone This 4X4 autonomous AFV has been heavily modified for unmanned operations, including removing most of the passenger and drive compartment to reduce weight and improve visibility for sensors, which are mounted on the bumper, and where the back seat would normally be. Apparently, this robot started life out as a QLL-05 reconnaissance armored car. AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|Robot Gas Guzzler This Humvee started out as a product of Dongfeng Motors, who licensed the original design from American Motors. It's top half has been chopped off, as is apparently standard for autonomous Chinese AFVs, the sensors presumably would pop out of the backseat during driving. Gas mileage is probably as bad as its American progenitor. AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|Parasailing Self-Driving Robot? This as yet unidentified AFV
appears to have been originally designed for airborne (read parachute
dropped) operations, given its light weight, thin armor and narrow
tracks. Like its manned counterparts, this autonomous AFV could be
paradropped straight into combat (generally, the crew of paradropped
vehicles have to parachute separately, to avoid injuries that usually
come with being dropped onto the ground inside a large metal box). AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|All Terrain Robot Chinese airmobile infantry and special forces have used all terrain vehicles (ATVs) during exercises as a light but rapid mode of transport and convenient means to move fire support around. Now, the ATVs are learning to drive themselves. AssassinsMace via www.fjys.cn|
|Portable Chinese Robot This portable robot, intended for ground reconnaissance, was developed and shown at the Fifth China International Equipment Manufacturing Exposition held in Shenyang, China on August 29, 2006. It takes after the layout of the iRobot Packbot, which first appeared in 2002. This robot is apparently remotely operated, via a datalink to its human controller, who would be out of danger's range. People's Daily|
Some of the other Chinese autonomous vehicles have less sensors. The QLL-05 (?) 4X4 recon AFV has two white sensor dome mounted in its rear seats, along with two video cameras on its front bumper, just above the headlights. A HMMVV Dongfeng EQ2050 (license built from American Motors!) has had its passenger and driven compartment cut off and sealed; presumably most of its sensors are intended to pop up from the trunk during operations. Finally, an unidentified airborne AFV chassis has bumper mounted front cameras and a central sensor mast.
These AFVs could have been modified simply for remote operations, though that possibility is rather unlikely. Given that China already has developed remotely operated robot prototypes for mineclearing similar to the iRobot Warrior, it would be of questionable benefit to transition that established technology onto this wide variety of vehicle sized AFVs. Also, the simplest remotely operated ground vehicles are usually equipped with just video cameras, as opposed to LIDAR and radar sensors.
Like U.S. Military plans, China is first likely to use autonomous ground vehicles for mine clearing, reconnaissance and resupply missions; besides the legal and policy issues, the limits of present day AI means that any weapons would likely require human permission…for now.