GM Reveals SURUS Autonomous, Fuel Cell Medium-Duty Truck Concept
Modular Design Has Potential Military and First Responder Uses
General Motors will apply its hydrogen fuel cell expertise to a bespoke platform, the light/medium-duty Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure—call it SURUS. The flexible-use fuel cell electric platform will be displayed at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army next week, indicating the commercial vehicle could be adapted for military use.
According to the company, SURUS uses GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell powertrain, giving it zero-emissions green cred and impressive performance. Furthermore, SURUS will incorporate autonomous capability, increasing its attractiveness to the military; drone-style operation could make deliveries in dangerous areas much safer for the operator. Reportedly, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is in discussion with GM to evaluate the SURUS concept as an expansion of the two entities’ research into fuel-cell vehicles; TARDEC and GM currently collaborate on the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a fuel-cell pickup that’s been in limited military use since April.
However, GM claims the machinery could also be repurposed for commercial freight, emergency first response, and mobile power generation, among other potential uses. GM says the architecture is a way to bring “high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.” Thanks to two electric drive units, four-wheel steering, a lithium-ion battery, 400 miles worth of hydrogen storage, and an advanced suspension, SURUS is pretty high on technology. GM says the system is also capable of platooning in a leader-follower configuration, reducing the manpower needed to operate multiple vehicles.
The company released several illustrations of SURUS, showing the system used as a backcountry ambulance, flatbed shipping container transport, snowcat, and construction implement. Each use capitalizes on SURUS’ flexible power generation, autonomous operation, and all-terrain capability. Whether SURUS will make the jump from illustration to real-world operation remains to be seen, but if it does, it could change the way we get work done.
Source: General Motors