Unmanned drones have been hovering over the battlefield for the last two decades while the development of automated fighter jets is underway… but how about self-driving vehicles?

This is precisely what US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC) engineers are currently working on developing. If successful, we might be seeing these within the next decade.

To make this possible, these renowned engineers are using the sophisticated High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) as the base platform for the Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher (AML) and modifying it “to be controlled remotely and driven autonomously,” reducing personnel risk.

According to Christi Dolbeer, the director of DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center’s Technology Development Directorate, the AML can potentially become significant artillery that will further boost the modernization and strength of the Army.

“Adding autonomy to drive mobile launchers and increasing the firing power of those launchers represents a powerful combination,” Dolbeer added. “I am very proud of the DEVCOM AvMC and DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center teams working together to give Soldiers even greater capabilities.”

(Screenshot from DEVCOM AvMC/YouTube)

When we talk about self-driving cars, the first thing that comes to mind might be the ones from Tesla. But, the US Army said AML would feature a more advanced technology than those sold to consumers. It will also come with challenges, such as traversing through treacherous terrain, unlike the smooth, established roadways of civilian-built automatic autos. Not to mention the raining bullets the AML will have to endure and go through from the enemy troops.

“We are talking about putting a 36,000-pound vehicle in an area where there will be humans running around,” said Lucas Hunter, AML project manager for AvMC.

Hunter continued: “Tesla and other companies are working on vehicles that can sense cars in front of them and behind them; they have these nice stripes on the road that tell it, ‘I am getting out of my lane.’ Well, we are driving through open country, we don’t have stripes—we have holes, we have cliffs.”