What looks like a small off-road vehicle is actually GUSS, an autonomous robot with a number of embedded sensors that will help Marines haul loads and serve a secondary purpose as a counterinsurgency tool. GUSS–which stands for Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate–has GPS sensors, camera sensors, and can be operated in either fully autonomous mode or via a Wii-style remote control steering wheel. The purpose of GUSS? To help Marines haul loads, but to also store artillery and heavy equipment in counter-insurgency talks as a place to stow equipment so that Marines do not look menacing in negotiations with foreigners. Pre-programmed routes can also be entered into the GPS navigation system. GUSS does have some drawbacks, though. For one, if there is a lot of dust kicked up in front of GUSS, the cybermule may think it’s blocked by a wall and stop and wait for the dust to clear. This, however, isn’t all bad, as GUSS has to decipher between a roadblock and other path pitfalls, especially when the autonomous vehicle goes offroad where GPS signals won’t do it much good. For now, though, GUSS is still being tested and it isn’t sure if and when the Marines may deploy GUSS into combat.
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