The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) awarded Oshkosh Defense LLC, an Oshkosh Corp. company, a $49 million contract to integrate existing Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicles with scalable autonomous technology, as part of the U.S. Army’s Expedient Leader Follower (ExLF) program.

The ExLF program addresses the needs of the Leader Follower Directed Requirement and Program of Record by removing soldiers from the vehicle in highly contested areas. Oshkosh autonomous technology was designed with the flexibility to be operated in a variety of modes to support manned or unmanned operations: leader-follower, fully autonomous and teleoperation.

The contract funds Oshkosh to integrate an initial 70 autonomy kits for Program Development and Operational Technical Demonstrations (OTD), with an option to procure up to 150 autonomy kits.

“The PLS has been an integral part of the U.S. Army’s resupply and distribution fleet for over 25 years. By equipping these vehicles with autonomous capabilities, we can significantly reduce our soldiers’ exposure to enemy threats, by taking them out of the vehicle altogether. We are committed to bringing this life-saving technology to the battlefield. Through nearly 15 years of Oshkosh research and development, including independent and government testing, we are very proud to see this technology reach the U.S. Army fleets.”— Pat Williams, vice president and general manager of Army and Marine Corps programs for Oshkosh Defense