A military vehicle designed to serve Marines will be able to fix itself using diagnostics and 3D printing.
For now, this technology has military applications, but there’s no reason to believe that it cannot and will not be applied to ‘consumer’ use.
Smart systems are about more than turning off your household lights with a smartphone. According to top staff in the Marine Corps, the next generation of 7-ton trucks could use a highly connected infrastructure to diagnose and automatically replace worn-out parts with 3D printed replacements.
Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics (I&L), says the process for installing such systems is already underway,
Last year, Marines at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri took 20-odd military vehicles, including 7-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs) and Logistics Vehicle System Replacements (LVSRs), and equipped them with special engine sensors that could diagnose the imminent failure of key components.
Some high-end cars already use such technology, but it’s a completely new experience for the Marine Corps, which would previously have to identify and replace near-worn parts manually. “You look at Tesla, their vehicles literally get automatic upgrades; it’s almost like a vehicle computer that’s driving around,” Dana said, adding: “That predictive capability exists in the private sector. Hopefully we can incorporate it on the military side.”
Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics (I&L), says the next generation of Marine Corps trucks could use smart diagnostics to identify worn-out parts and automatically place orders for 3D printed replacements.