The Australian first autonomous convoy operation simulated a resupply mission between Mangalore Airfield and Puckapunyal, using the Goulburn Valley Highway and the Hume Freeway. ​

The Australian Army has successfully operated an autonomous truck convoy on a Victorian highway.

As part of the leader-follower trial, a convoy of four autonomous army trucks followed a crewed ‘leader’ vehicle, for the first time on a public road in Victoria.

During the highway trials, the army simulated an autonomous resupply mission between Mangalore Airfield and Puckapunyal using the Goulburn Valley Highway and Hume Freeway.

The National Transport Research Organisation and Deakin University supported the army to conduct the trial – the first time an autonomous convoy has operated in Australia.

Colonel Robin Smith from the army’s Future Land Warfare said the autonomous vehicles had performed well in the trial.

“This trial showed how a convoy could undertake a resupply mission between an airfield and a military base, giving us an idea of how this kind of technology could be used in the future,” he said.

“Driving on a highway in traffic meant the technology was tested to stop safely and leave distances between other vehicles, while following the path set by the leader.

“Down the track technology like this could remove our soldiers from dangerous environments, or help free soldiers up for other roles.”

The trial is part of the army’s modernisation projects, which includes exploring human-machine learning teaming, quantum technology, artificial intelligence and electrification.

The army is collaborating with industry and academia to explore how technology can increase mission success and lower risk to soldiers.

A convoy of four autonomous army trucks followed a crewed ‘leader’ vehicle in the trial. ​