What would happen if an unmanned helicopter delivered an autonomous ground vehicle? The Army has the answer.

Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin teamed up with the U.S. Army to test how an unmanned helicopter works while delivering an autonomous ground vehicle. Called K-Max, the helicopter's capabilities were tested at the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Fort Benning, Ga. 

According to Flight Global, the idea behind it all was to test "robots moving robots." During the demonstration, the K-Max as able to deliver the 5,000-pound Squad Mission Support System (SMSS), both developed by Lockheed. A slingload was used for the delivery, and the ground vehicle was then tested with a 9-inch Gyrocam optical sensor. 

“The synergistic use of unmanned air and ground vehicles will give warfighters a larger operational reach, and allow execution of missions that are currently performed at great risk,” said Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC. 

The Gyrocam helped researchers keep track of each phase of the mission, even while in flight. The sensors scan for potential treats and provide geo-location coordinates of anyone deemed "hostile" for indirect-fire missions.

During the test, both vehicles had line-of-sight and mobile communications (SATCOM) systems. Meanwhile, a remote-operations center controlled and monitored their activity.