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Will Armoured Vehicle Drivers Soon Be History?

Is the driverless Mechanised Infantry Vehicle close to fruition [© Rheinmetall]

The Rheinmetall technology group, represented by armoured vehicle manufacturer Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, has joined forces with Paravan GmbH, a market leader in drive-by-wire technologies, to cooperate in the field of autonomous driving.

In an official communiqué issued to C&S earlier today, Rheinmetall stated the partners “plan to design and develop semi- and fully automatic platforms for military and dual-use applications as well as civilian emergency response vehicles for protecting, rescuing and keeping people safe in acute high-risk situations and disaster zones. This pioneering cooperation agreement lays the groundwork for the rapid development of remotely controlled, automated, and future autonomous systems. Representatives of the two companies have now signed a wide-ranging agreement covering cooperation both at home and abroad.”

PARAVAN Space Drive Control Unit for autonomous driving [© Heinz Heiss]

Rheinmetall told us: “One of the foremost manufacturers in this forward-looking field, Paravan has been developing drive-by-wire control technologies for over 15 years. This technology is a crucial prerequisite for future autonomous driving at the highest level (Level 5), where no driver is necessary. Patented, fail-safe and roadworthy, these systems feature an independent power supply. In the last five years alone, Paravan has prepared and equipped over 200 test vehicles, pre-series vehicles and show cars for autonomous driving on behalf of renowned automobile manufacturers and auto parts makers around the world.”

The German defence manufacturer, which produces the BOXER 8×8 Armoured Fighting Vehicle tipped for the UK MoD MIV (Mechanised Infantry Vehicle) requirement, continued: “These modular, fail-safe systems consist of software, actuators, interface management and integrated sensors. As a result, these systems can be readily adapted to the needs of system manufacturers like Rheinmetall as well as major automotive companies and parts makers. Paravan’s special expertise lies in the redundant digital control of steering, accelerating and braking as well as supplying interfaces for digitization, GPS, control computers, cameras, radar and sensors. Today Paravan drive-by-wire technology already meets the Europe-wide criteria contained in the regulations ECE-R 79, ECE-R 10 and ECE-R 13.”

Rheinmetall also pointed out: “Besides autonomous driving, Paravan technology eliminates the need for a steering column, enabling a complete rethink when it comes to the design of vehicle interiors as well as creating scope for entirely new future vehicle concepts”. By doing away with the cab area occupied by driver and vehicle commander, more space could theoretically be made available for either additional dismounts or extra equipment in the squad compartment.

Boxer is widely tipped to become the new UK MoD Mechanised Infantry Vehicle [© Rheinmetall]


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