The Army is seeking information from industry relative to autonomy applique technology
and autonomy enabling technologies required from a host vehicle. Specifically, The Army is
looking at applying autonomy technology within a family of systems in the Heavy Class A
family and equivalents to perform autonomous line and local haul missions on primary and
secondary roads. The near term intent will concentrate on individual applique kits to
existing Tactical Wheeled Vehicles (TWVs) with longer term focus on purpose built
platforms and even consideration of a Family of Systems approach.
Questions in this request for information (RFI) include general autonomy, architecture,
hardware, and software related questions. Responses to this RFI will help the Army to
understand the current state of industry and where industry is planning to advance in the
next, 3, 5, and 10 year timeframes. It will also help to shape how the Army performs
contracting, utilizes technical standards, plans for developmental or commercial-off-the-
shelf (COTS) acquisitions, and modernizes its fleet through either legacy vehicle upgrades
or platform replacement.
System Description Summary
The Army is prioritizing the application of autonomous technologies to the PLS A1 with
trailer TWV in a Leader Follower (LF) capability. The LF capability is a technology desired
to provide force protection and improved logistical throughput by allowing the removal of
operators from TWVs and repurposing them to other convoy functions. The LF intent within
a convoy is to allow a series of march units consisting of a manned “leader” system leading
a set of unmanned “follower” systems. These march unit serials can be from 2 – 10 TWVs
in length. The manned “leader” vehicle, which also serves as the commander of the march
unit, will create a digital boundary and path for the “follower” vehicles to navigate at set gap
distances, speeds, and lateral deviation limits. The LF applique kit is anticipated to include
a sensor suite, a warfighter machine interface (WMI), a radio network interface (RNI), and
associated computing. These components will interface with the TWVs autonomy ready
drive-by-wire and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Mission Description Summary
The initial mission set being addressed with this technology is to provide the commander
options and flexibility to conduct sustainment operations through manned-unmanned
teaming (MUM/T). These capabilities allow for a reduction of Soldier exposure to hostile
effects. The Operational Mode Summary/Mission Profile (OMS/MP) of the PLS, or any host
vehicle, will not be changed by the installation of LF; the capability will focus on line haul
and local haul missions on primary and secondary roads. Primary roads are high quality
paved, secondary pavement, and rough pavement. They consist of two or more lanes, all
weather, maintained hard surface (paved) roads designed for heavy, and high density
traffic. Secondary roads are loose surface, loose surface with washboard and potholes,
and Belgian block surfaces. The initial capability will also require operation with trailers on
the Leader and Follower vehicles. LF will support these missions by allowing convoy
operations with manned Leader vehicles controlling unmanned Follower vehicles, reducing
personnel required to operate TWVs in the convoy.
The Army seeks to implement an applique kit into its existing TWV fleet
by leveraging industries in the development and manufacturing of an
autonomous system which enables LF convoy operations. In preparation
for a LF applique, the Army is moving forward in modernizing some of
its existing trucks with upgraded hardware controls to allow for drive-by-
wire and ADAS. This RFI will inform future acquisition strategy and
subsequent program planning. For planning purposes, the Army requests
responses be specific to industry planning time lines, considering a 3, 5,
and 10 year timeframe, and beyond as appropriate.
Specifically for the PLS A1, the Army is considering program initiation in FY21
with a LF capability, with a Milestone B/start of Engineering & Manufacturing
Development in early FY22, Milestone C/start of Low Rate Initial Production
in early FY24, and start of Full Rate Production 1-2 years later. This RFI will
directly inform this timeline based on the state of the industry capability
compared to the Warfighter’s capability gaps.
Tactical Wheeled Vehicle (TWV) Leader Follower (LF) provides a limited autonomous
vehicle capability to TWVs. The system provides the capability for a designated “manned”
Lead vehicle to lead a line of “unmanned” Follower vehicles through the use of vehicle
sensors with sufficient accuracy to safely operate unmanned.
• Leader vehicle with four to nine unmanned Follower vehicles. All equipped vehicles
shall remain capable of being operated manually by a driver and each vehicle shall
be capable of being either a Leader or Follower. All vehicles in the march unit shall
be capable of operating with trailers and backing trailers on a limited path.
• Hardened against cyber security attacks.
• Provide an interface for Soldier to interact with the system to select Follower
vehicles, place in march order and set/change gap intervals on the move.
• Followers will be physically untethered and be follow the Leader vehicle in a column
formation while avoiding road hazards in the corridor of operations. If an obstacle is
detected in the Leader’s path, the Follower vehicles will come to a safe stop until the
path is clear again. If the selected gap is not maintained and lengthened beyond
what was designated, the Follower shall attempt to catch-up and re-establish the
• The system shall not affect the vehicle’s electrical system, exceed power demand or
impact host vehicle software. The system shall not adversely affect the operational
capabilities of the host vehicle (to include cargo payload) nor interfere with convoy
self-defense systems. The system shall comply with light security requirements of
the host vehicle.
• The installation of LF shall not interfere with the host vehicle’s transportability
requirements and shall be able to withstand ship transport.
• LF shall have an on-board vehicle health and diagnostic capability.
• LF design shall allow for maximum hardware and software interchangeability and
facilitate new hardware and software capabilities as they emerge.