The US Army has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Robotics Systems-led team to create the technical foundation for the development of autonomous unmanned air and ground systems.

Under the $220m contract, the robotics team will develop technologies in several key areas including sensing capabilities of the unmanned systems, interaction with the surroundings, quick and safe integration into human activity and manoeuvres in complex environments.

As a leading partner, General Dynamics Robotic Systems will integrate technologies to create the next-generation highly autonomous unmanned systems and transition the technology to advanced development and acquisition programmes.

General Dynamics Robotic Systems vice-president Cory said the team would pursue four technology areas critical to the development of future autonomous air and ground systems of multiple scales.

“These key technologies are perception, intelligence, human-robot interaction, and dexterous manipulation and unique mobility,” Cory said.

“In addition, the alliance will focus on the interplay between the four areas to form the foundations of cohesive, integrated robotic systems.”

The five-year contract, which has a second five-year option, has been awarded by the US Army Research Laboratory.

Other members in the GD-led robotics programme include Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Caltech University, QinetiQ North America and Boston Dynamics.