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The Army Is Speeding Ahead With Self-Driving Medical Transport
The Army is the latest organization to venture into the realm of driverless cars, joining the likes of Tesla, Google, Audi, Uber, and many others in tech’s most popular sector. Unlike its corporate counterparts, though, Army leadership isn’t investing in this industry to make morning commutes easier or allow people to chow down burgers in the driver’s seat. They’ve got bigger goals in mind.
By 2018, the Army plans to have autonomous vehicles on the road transporting wounded soldiers to the hospital for rehab. This move is aimed at reducing the likelihood of combat-wounded soldiers missing their doctor’s appointments due to heavy traffic and lack of parking close to on-base hospitals like Fort Bragg’s. These logistical issues cost the Army valuable time and resources, says Edward Straub, program manager for the Army’s Applied Robotics for Installations and Base operations.
“Some of these appointments can cost $5,000. So, if the soldier is not showing up, that’s a huge cost,” Straub said in a recent interview with Automotive News. “We surmised that by providing a reliable, personalized transportation option, we could reduce that number of missed appointments.”
To make this happen, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center has rolled out a three-phase pilot program at Fort Bragg, South Carolina, and several other locations.
The first phase is already underway, with drivers steering the vehicles along their designated routes. Because they are essentially extra-long golf carts operating on military installations, these vehicles operate at low speeds and in controlled areas. Unlike commercial driverless technology like Tesla’s autopilot feature, these Army carts do not necessarily have road signs or markings to give them any cues. Operating them autonomously and safely in this environment is more difficult than in the confines of a city street.
Things will get interesting in phase two, which is tentatively set to begin this fall. Similar to the Google self-driving cars that have been on American roads for months, the cart drives itself, but will have an operator in the front seat in case the vehicle malfunctions in any way.
If everything goes according to plan, the training wheels will come off and these vehicles will operate independently by late 2017 or early 2018. Once this happens, American soldiers will be able to schedule personalized door-to-door transports from their barracks to the hospital with ease.
While these developments aren’t as eye-popping as Israel’s rollout of self-driving trucks on the Gaza border, they’ll be a huge upgrade for the Army’s on-base medical services and will ensure combat-wounded soldiers get the treatment they need. What’s more, they represent a glimpse into the Army’s future plans to use driverless combat vehicles to transport supplies and soldiers.
These developments may not sound like much compared to many car companies’ upcoming models, but remember, these Army carts are moving wounded soldiers, the most precious of cargo.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the six-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
The Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that John Browning dreamed up more than a century ago remains on of the most beloved sidearms in U.S. military history. Hell, there's a reason why Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, still rocks an M1911A1 on his hip despite the fact that the Army no longer issues them to soldiers.
But if scoring one of the Army's remaining M1911s through the Civilian Marksmanship Program isn't enough to satisfy your adoration for the classic sidearm, then Colt has something right up your alley: the Colt Model 1911 'Black Army' pistol.