The flexible platform could serve a variety of purposes.

General Motors has unveiled a new flexible fuel cell electric vehicle platform with autonomous capabilities that could on day reduce the number of human lives exposed to dangers like war zones and disaster areas.

The new platform, known as Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), was original designed for commercial use, but GM says the flexible architecture could be modified for military uses. As such, GM will formally unveil SURUS for the first time at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army.

SURUS combines GM's know-how in trucks, fuel cells and autonomous technology. SURUS is built using GM truck chassis components and uses a Gen 2 fuel cell system with lithium-ion batteries. GM says the on-board hydrogen storage system can provide a range of 400 miles. Propulsion is provided by a pair of electric drive units and SURUS boasts four-wheel steering for improved mobility. SURUS is also capable of autonomous operation.

Although SURUS could be used for such mundane things as over-the-road cargo transportation, GM envisions the architecture being useful for military applications. Thanks to its low heat signature and quite operation, GM says SURUS could potentially get 10 times closer to a target without detection than a conventional vehicles. SURUS also has the benefit of water generation since its runs on a fuel cell and can also be used as a power generation station.

"SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments," said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. "General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers."

GM is currently in talks with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center about future evaluation of SURUS, but nothing has been agreed to as of yet.