Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has confirmed that the Australian Army is set to invest in the acquisition of robotics and autonomous systems to help support the country’s soldiers.

The army will fund the acquisition of four additional unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and accessories from Australian company Praesidium Global.

In addition to improving the capability of the Australian Army, the UGVs will help assist the soldiers with a wide range of manual handling tasks, such as moving heavy loads and field equipment, and casualty evacuations.

With a total cost of $2m, the purchase will also help the Australian defence support the sovereign defence industry of the company, said Pyne.

Pyne said: “We are committed to building stronger relationships with defence industry and encouraging new innovative technology.

“We are committed to building stronger relationships with defence industry and encouraging new innovative technology.”

“The UGVs will be used by the army to support a 12-month user evaluation trial within the 2018–19 financial year.”

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Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that the current acquisition contract will boost the growth of the Sunshine Coast defence industry.

Wallace said: “The Sunshine Coast is fast emerging as an Australian defence industry hub. I have been working hard to support this growth with my Fisher Defence Industry Initiative, collaborating closely with local companies, including Praesidium Global.

“I am grateful to the minister for his faith in this innovative local defence product, which will help Australia lead the way in robotics and autonomous systems.”