The Ministry of Defence (MOD) plans to launch a centre of excellence for the development of robotic equipment to support the Armed Forces.
The Expeditionary Robotics Centre of Expertise (ERCoE) aims to bring together robotics and autonomous systems experts from across defence, government, academia and industry.
According to the MOD’s trading entity Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the centre will act as a focal point for current innovative projects, and also assess unexplored, high-risk but rapidly maturing technologies.
Projects include the development of remote platoon vehicles and nano unmanned air systems, as well as the study of how to autonomously resupply forward troops and how defence forms human machine teams.
The centre sits under the Future Capability Group (FCG) at DE&S, the MOD said this group has a direct line to market ensuring ideas can be rapidly developed.
FCG Head James Gavin, said: “The CoE concept was borne out of the need and opportunity to bring together separate projects and people into single groupings to be more efficient and effective.
“Being more effective means a razor-sharp focus on exploitation and operational advantage as the goal. Co-teaming between the Army and DE&S will put the customer at the heart of what we do, exploring and delivering iteratively under an ‘Agile by Default’ mindset.”
DE&S personnel will work alongside industry teams at the Army battlelab, within the defence innovation centre, allowing new ideas and concepts to be quickly developed and put into practice.
The ERCoE has been jointly launched with future force development in army HQ and is aligned to their robotics and autonomous systems strategy.
The hub will initially focus on projects for the British Army, but there is an opportunity as the group expands for it to become a central hub of advice on expeditionary robotics across defence.
Lt Col Iain Lamont, SO1 robotics and autonomous systems at the British Army, said: “The Army’s Future Force Development team are delighted to be entering into a fast-paced and exciting new partnership with the ERCoE.”
ERCoE will operate from MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol and from the Army BattleLab in Dorset.
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