Imagine a vehicle that can actually sweat to improve its stealth capabilities and reduce its environmental impact. Or camouflage capable of adapting to any surrounding environment using electronic ink.
Well, the technology you may think only belongs in sci-fi movies may be closer to reality than you think.
As part of the The Future Protected Vehicle program, BAE Systems presented hundreds of futuristic ideas to the UK Ministry of Defence in an attempt to improve the effectiveness of lightweight armored vehicles.
And this is not some tiny branch of the Ministry of Defence with limited funds. We’re talking participants from 25 organizations, 567 future technologies and 244 vehicle concepts presented.
The program asked academics, scientists, engineers, and even local elementary school children to give their input and ideas. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory donated £2 million (around $3.1 million USD) to fund a series of panels to prompt ideas and discussion.
From all of the ideas, 47 of these technologies are actually being considered for implementation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these armored vehicles. The idea is to improve safety while making the vehicles more dynamic.
The team took the various concepts and created seven concept vehicles incorporating the new technologies that highlight a certain function. For example, there were many ideas focused on reducing environmental impact, or creating a reusable model like the "sweating" vehicle that uses water from fuel cell propulsion to “sweat,” therefore reducing the vehicle’s thermal signature and providing water for the soldiers.
Other smart solutions include vehicles with integrated biometrics that would use surveillance to run facial recognition software and modeling software to spot potential troublemakers, making taming a crowd much easier for soldiers.
Aside from the future technology that may one-day be available, the contest brought multiple ideas that are ready to be implemented immediately.
For example, advanced oil filtration, handheld target acquisition technology, and thermo-electric powered generators.
All of the ideas are designed to create smarter, more efficient armored vehicles to help keep soldiers safe.
The seven concept vehicles were:
Ideas identified for exploitation included:
Quick wins using available technology include: