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Textron partners with dual-use AI company for UGV demonstration

A computer-generated imagery (CGI) impression of Ripsaw M5 RCVs on the battlefield. Developed by Textron Systems and Howe & Howe, the Ripsaw M5 is a contender to fulfil the US Army's RCV-M requirement. (Textron Systems)

One of defence vehicle manufacturer Textron's unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) will be equipped with dual-use artificial intelligence (AI) company Kodiak's autonomy stack for a new product, the companies announced on 20 May.

Although both companies have contracts on the UGV US Army programme Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV), this integration effort is totally separate and will produce a new technology for customers with greater autonomy than waypoint navigation, said Don Burnette, Kodiak's co-founder and CEO, while speaking with Janes ahead of the announcement.

The integration, culminating in a demonstration for customers in the third quarter (Q3) of fiscal year (FY) 2024, will demonstrate integration speed, said David Phillips, senior vice-president of Textron's land and sea systems business. The company is not revealing the name of the UGV to publicise its debut at the demonstration later this year.

Phillips noted that the army already has five of its Ripsaw M5 vehicles, which the service has tested for the RCV programme. The smaller M3 vehicle is the prototype for which Textron and Howe & Howe were awarded an RCV contract in 2024.

“Whether we're integrating autonomy into one versus the other, it doesn't matter. We're going to prove that our systems are autonomy-ready,” Phillips told Janes in an interview on 15 May.

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