General Dynamics [GD] Robotic Systems yesterday announced the successful completion of Phase I of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Robotic Convoy Experiment (RCX) at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

"We received positive results from our team at White Sands," Phil Cory, president of General Dynamics Robotic Systems, said. "The current preparations position us for a successful Phase II experiment in July 2008."

The unmanned Stryker vehicle reached speeds up to 55 kilometers per hour (34 mph), the company said in a statement. General Dynamics builds the Stryker vehicle.

FCS is the Army’s major modernization program and managed for the Army by Boeing [BA] and SAIC [SAI].

As part of the company’s Autonomous Navigation System contract with the Army, the Phase I experiment is designed to test basic robotic convoy function and accuracy with obstacle detection and avoidance technology.

The test vehicles were a Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle and a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV).

Stryker, LMTV and Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) are expected to be used during Phase II testing.

The robotic experiment is being funded under a contract to develop the Autonomous Navigation System for FCS. General Dynamics was awarded the task order because of its technology development on previous robotic convoy experiments and demonstrations.

In December 2003, General Dynamics Robotics Systems and SAIC signed a $185 million contract that runs through September 2009 to develop the FCS Autonomous Navigation Capability for ground vehicles (Defense Daily, Sept. 22, 2004).