smart military base

Connected Warrior

Army to expand experimental transportation smart base

The Army wants to expand its existing smart base transportation testbed at Fort Carson, Colo., to include smart traffic and weather artificial intelligence platforms. 

Fort Carson’s testbed already includes a 4G/5G network, an autonomous vehicle shuttle for personnel and drone airfield services for debris detection and analysis. Now the Army plans to leverage the existing testbed and expand into the Colorado Springs local community with sensor deployment, data integration and the development of AI models and decision dashboards that integrate traffic and weather-related information. 

The Army Corps of Engineers announced on Feb. 1 that it will be partnering with US Ignite in a follow-on contract to R&D work the nonprofit performed on the smart transportation platform. The initial project also gave the Army the opportunity to experiment with AI, data analytics and edge computing. 

“The project seeks to utilize a 4G network to exploit technology capabilities that leverage AV sensors, then integrate that data with other data sources to inform decision making,” Jim P. Allen, Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s program manager, said in August 2020. “The goal is to conduct edge computing while maintaining cybersecurity and building an efficient data architecture that fuses data into useful information and builds knowledge over time.” 

The new 4G/5G internet-of-things network will initially support the upload of vehicle data from the AV shuttle and video traffic from route-monitoring cameras, according to a December 2020 US Ignite statement.

The network is also designed to accommodate broad research based on air quality and weather sensors as part of a collaborative initiative among Fort Carson, the city of Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Boulder, which are already supporting a shared data repository. Smart sensors on base that monitor traffic, parking and public safety are linked to information from the city's sensors and mapping systems. Researchers analyze these datasets with an eye to improving safety and services and eventually plan to develop machine-learning models that prioritize transportation resources based on usage rates and community needs.

The Fort Carson research network will support 4G and 5G traffic over the CBRS band. It will feature at least 250 Mbps throughput and support for over 1,000 simultaneous device connections, according to US Ignite. JMA Wireless is providing 5G and 4G access powered by its software-based, ORAN-compliant radio-access network solution, and Federated Wireless is supplying Citizens Broadband Radio Services access.

“Building smart bases and smart communities requires advanced network infrastructure. This network is foundational for the early IoT use cases we’re testing at Fort Carson, but it’s also an asset for future research and development efforts targeted at improving public safety, services, and quality of life,” US Ignite Director of Technology Scott Turnbull said.

This article first appeared on GCN, a Defense Systems partner site. 

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

Defense Systems Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.