19 Apr 2017

Drone technology needed to re-supply troops on the front line

Defence Minister, Harriett Baldwin, has asked for industry and academics to come up with designs for autonomous systems to resupply front line troops.

As part of the MOD’s Innovation Initiative, £3M has been invested through the Defence and Security Accelerator in the next stage of the Innovation Autonomy Challenge.

The Challenge, which is being led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), will concentrate on providing the ‘last mile’ of support to resupply troops on the front line.

Following significant advancements in drone technology from within the private sector, it is envisaged the use of UAVs will help to reduce the risk to troops and increase efficiency.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin said: “Making sure we use the latest technology to keep our personnel safe and have the kit they need is a key part of our £800M innovation fund. We’re challenging industry and academia to work with us to design ground-breaking autonomous systems that will get supplies to the front line.

“Our investment in innovative solutions demonstrates how the Government’s £178Bn equipment plan, supported by a rising Defence budget, will ensure that the UK maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world.”

The Innovation Initiative and £800M Defence Innovation Fund aim to transform Defence to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. From laser weapons to autonomous vehicles, the MOD is working with small firms, academics, industry, and the new Defence Advisory Panel to find cutting edge solutions to defence challenges.

The Dstl lead for the Innovation Autonomy Challenge, Peter Stockel, commented: “We are particularly keen to reach out and encourage organisations that might not have worked with the defence and security sector before, such as those developing commercial driverless vehicles, drone delivery services and robotic agriculture, to get involved with the challenge and help us rapidly advance the way we deliver tactical military logistics.”

The competition runs until 21 June 2017 and further details of the competition can be found on the competition website.

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