The European Defence Agency has contracted Rheinmetall Defence to develop a €4m unmanned vehicle platform that could assist soldiers in the search for improvised explosive devices.

The project will initially construct a demonstrator version to display the future role that unmanned vehicles could play in protecting troops deployed in hazardous operations.

The Semi-Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle System Demonstrator will be an all-terrain vehicle roughly the size of a quad bike and weighing between 300kg and 400kg.

The vehicle will have a range of 400km and will be operable up to 24 hours to conduct long-range patrolling and monitoring missions.

The vehicle will feature a satellite-supported inertial navigation system as well as 3-D laser radar, a camera system and ultrasonic sensors to avoid obstacles.

Three other companies Diehl BGT Defence, ECA and Thales Optronique are involved in the project.