The Army is hosting one-on-one industry sessions starting this week on the Tactical Wheeled Vehicle-Leader Follower program, according to a recent notice.
"The goal of this forum is to gain a better understanding of the technology maturity that exists in the current commercial marketplace and enhance collaboration between industry and [the Product Office for Robotic Autonomous Systems] regarding the Tactical Wheeled Vehicle-Leader Follower program," the industry notice says.
The service in May posted "a market investigation requesting information from industry relative to autonomy applique technology and autonomy enabling technologies required from a host vehicle."
The request for information states: "The Army is prioritizing the application of autonomous technologies to the [Palletized Load System] A1 with trailer TWV in a Leader Follower (LF) capability."
"The Army seeks to implement an applique kit into its existing TWV fleet by leveraging industries in the development and manufacturing of an autonomous system which enables LF convoy operations," the RFI reads. "In preparation for a[n] LF applique, the Army is moving forward in modernizing some of its existing trucks with upgraded hardware controls to allow for drive-by-wire and [advanced driver-assistance systems]. This RFI will inform future acquisition strategy and subsequent program planning."
The service is requesting responses considering three-, five- and 10-year timeframes.
For the PLS A1, the product manager is considering starting the program in fiscal year 2021 with a Leader Follower capability, a milestone B decision and start of the engineering and manufacturing development phase in early FY-22, a milestone C decision in early FY-24 and start of full-rate production one to two years later, according to the RFI.
The one-on-one sessions will run through mid-November. Interested companies should notify the Army before Oct. 30.