02 Sep 2019

Competition launched to improve autonomy in challenging conditions

A competition has been launched by DASA to find new ideas to improve autonomy in difficult conditions.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has created a new £4million fund to seek ideas that improve autonomy in dangerous and challenging environments. The project will run across several phases and seeks technology to improve autonomous systems to be used across defence organisations.

Systems like these are increasingly used in defence operations. The DASA funding is available to a number of projects and will go to ideas that will increase the capability of autonomous systems in extreme environments such as deserts, the arctic, and out at sea.

This competition is seeking technologies to broaden the environmental and performance envelope of unmanned autonomous or semi-autonomous systems to include:

  • unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)
  • unmanned surface vehicle (USV)
  • unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)
  • unmanned air system (UAS)
  • or hybrid systems.

This challenge seeks proposals that address human-machine teaming when the ability to communicate with the unmanned systems is limited, fleeting or not at all possible for extended periods. DASA is seeking innovative technologies which address this, such as anisotropic materials applications, soft robotics, embodied artificial intelligence (AI) or other novel methods to increase autonomous systems’ ability to respond or adapt to environmental challenges.

The competition focuses on three challenges, perception and situational awareness, mobility, and maintaining effective human-machine partnerships. The competition closes on 10 October, queries can be sent to accelerator@dstl.gov.uk and further information, along with competition documents, is available on the government website, maximum funding for the first phase is £2.million and more funding is expected to be available later on.

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