British autonomous technology tested in mock urban battlefield

25 September 2018 (Last Updated September 25th, 2018 11:27)

Canadian soldiers have tested new British autonomous technology under a mock urban battlefield environment in Montreal.

British autonomous technology tested in mock urban battlefield
The Contested Urban Environment experiment in Montreal, Canada. Credit: Crown copyright.

Canadian soldiers have tested new British autonomous technology under a mock urban battlefield environment in Montreal.

Known as SAPIENT, the advanced technology has been developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and UK industry partners.

During the test, UK-built sensors demonstrated ability in autonomous decision making as they scavenged the mock urban battlefield and informed the soldiers taking part in the experiment about the potential dangers.

Developed within five years, the SAPIENT technology was built through multi-million-pound research that was initially funded jointly by Dstl and InnovateUK and exclusively by Dstl since 2016.

The technology uses automation and artificial intelligence to ensure that the troops are provided with the necessary information whenever required.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This British system can act as autonomous eyes in the urban battlefield.

“This British system can act as autonomous eyes in the urban battlefield.”

“This technology can scan streets for enemy movements so troops can be ready for combat with quicker, more reliable information on attackers hiding around the corner.

“Investing millions in advanced technology like this will give us the edge in future battles. It also puts us in a really strong position to benefit from similar projects run by our allies as we all strive for a more secure world.”

SAPIENT has been designed to help minimise the risk of human error while reducing the number of troops required in the operations room.

The test was carried out in the Contested Urban Environment experiment (or CUE 18), which brings together Five Eyes allied nations of the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

The countries will join forces to provide the army with the latest and advanced technology in order to help address emerging threats and enhance their situational awareness.

In addition to SAPIENT, a number of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles and soldier technologies were also tested and used to provide information to an operations centre for analysis by scientists and military personnel.