The Ministry of Defence is seeking swarms of drones to achieve military advantage, and autonomous systems to assess hazardous scenes.
These 2 areas of innovative work have been outlined by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE).
It has 2 themed competitions currently open to bidders.
One is asking for innovative ways for an operator to manage more than 20 unmanned air systems (UAS), or drones, across the electro-magnetic spectrum in a contested environment.
CDE is looking for open, modular UAS; mission management of UAS swarms; and technological ways to operate the drones. As well as developing technology components, CDE wants suppliers to go on to demonstrate integrated system solutions.
The second is a joint Ministry of Defence and Home Office competition, which asks for autonomous systems that can assess hazardous scenes, such as sites contaminated by chemical and biological hazards.
It is a pilot for the Defence Innovation Initiative, launched last week (16 Sep 2016) by the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. The competition’s aim is for suppliers to help remove people from hazardous areas by producing autonomous systems which could indicate the presence of hazardous materials, map where they are, monitor changes in the environment and take samples of material for analysis.
Both competitions have up to £1 million available for phase 1 of the competition, with further funding available for phase 2.