Jacobs team to develop semi-autonomous scouting system for British Army

25 August 2020 (Last Updated August 25th, 2020 11:29)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected a team that includes Jacobs to develop a new system to aid the arm in carrying out vital reconnaissance tasks safely in water.

Jacobs team to develop semi-autonomous scouting system for British Army
The X3 unmanned ground vehicle is being developed as a semi-autonomous reconnaissance and survey system. Credit: Digital Concepts Engineering.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected a team that includes Jacobs to develop a new system to aid the arm in carrying out vital reconnaissance tasks safely in water.

It launched a ‘Map the Gap’ competition, which tasked the private sector to determine how ‘crossings could be scouted and planned without the need for dangerous reconnaissance missions’.

Jacobs’ 6th Sense data analytics system, which is the main part of the solution, can generate high-fidelity 3D maps of legacy radioactive facilities before they are decommissioned.

The concept provides for a semi-autonomous remote system that can collect the necessary measurements without having to deploy personnel to potential intersection points.

A submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with data sensors, soil sampling tools and sonar equipment will conduct the ground-based research.

The 6th Sense system processes real-time data to aid military engineers in understanding how riverbeds, marshes, and riverbanks can withstand the weight of temporary bridges and armoured vehicles.

The competition was run by the MoD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

DASA will fund further research and development of the semi-autonomous reconnaissance and survey system.

Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions International senior vice-president Clive White said: “We are looking forward to developing a new capability, which will enable units like the Royal Engineers to carry out vital reconnaissance tasks without putting personnel at risk.

“We often borrow technology and techniques from other sectors to apply in the nuclear industry, so it is good to see this technology transfer process happening going in the opposite direction.

“This is another example of the mutually beneficial relationships we are building with innovative small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Last year, Jacobs and Digital Concepts Engineering, leading the entry that won the competition, paired the 6th Sense data analytics system with an X2 ROV, which helped them win the Innovate UK and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority funded competition.

In May last year, Jacobs secured an estimated $27m contract from the US Army to continue supporting the West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) in Utah, US.