Military Technologies for Improving Efficiency & Safety in Off-Road Commercial Vehicles 2014-01-2398
Off-road commercial vehicles many times have to work at remote areas in poor working conditions like reduced visibility due to fog, snow, inadequate ambient lighting, dust etc. They may not have any access to emergency facilities in such places. Challenging geographical terrains and adverse weather conditions makes the situation worse. The combination of both can further degrade working conditions. The operator may need to either work or guide his vehicle through tight places or in hilly areas having such conditions. That imposes many challenges to operator in terms of efficiency & safety of both operator & vehicle. In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency operator may miss to look at safety aspects consequently, leading to accidents that can incur heavy losses due to damages to vehicle further delaying the work. It can even lead to a life threatening emergency in some cases. On the other hand, decrease in efficiency results in increased cost of operation due to unnecessary wastage of fuel & delays in getting the work done.
Defense sector, due to their nature of work & high risk; have been investing a lot to invent technologies that can enable soldiers to work in adverse conditions reducing the potential hazards to their soldiers & war machines. Due to this, defense sector already has upper hand in developing such technologies for their forces to help them work in adverse conditions without compromising performance & efficiency and can save lives. These highly advanced technologies are helping modern militaries in applications such as performing covert operations, reconnaissance without getting detected, covert target illumination & detection etc. thereby reducing casualties and losses to war machines.
Some of these technologies can find their applications in commercial off-road vehicles used in agriculture, construction, forestry & mining with same intent. Once closely guarded these technologies are now commercially available. As these technologies are made to order and are not being mass produced; at present, their cost is relatively higher to the technologies being used in off-road vehicles. But, once they are introduced in vehicles, with advent of mass production the cost will go down. Radar is one such example of technology which was once used in combat applications and was very costly, but now being widely used in vehicles for various applications. The intent of this paper is to identify some of these technologies and their potential applications in off-road commercial vehicles.