DRS Technologies, a wholly owned-subsidiary of Leonardo-Finmeccanica, and robotic vehicle technologies provider Autonomous Solutions (ASI) have joined forces to develop new technology protecting US troops from roadside explosives.

Under the partnership, ASI’s experience in vehicle automation will be combined with DRS engineering production capabilities, market presence and customer awareness to develop automated solutions for route-clearance vehicles.

The companies will begin working on the US Army’s emerging route clearance interrogation system (RCIS) Type I programme, which is expected to allow the army to remotely operate the Army-legacy HMEE Type I vehicle in an unmanned mode.

"Leveraging ASI’s proven technology will allow DRS to provide rapid, reliable, and cost-effective solutions to the warfighter."

An operator located in a separate control vehicle wirelessly controls the RCIS Type I when it is in the unmanned mode.

As part of the RCIS programme, a high mobility engineering excavator (HMEE) platform will be automated.

DRS Sustainment Systems vice-president and general manager Joseph Matteoni said: "We are very excited to work with ASI to offer our customer automated solutions that increase safety by eliminating the need for soldiers to man systems on the battlefield in route-clearance missions.

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"Leveraging ASI’s proven technology will allow DRS to provide rapid, reliable, and cost-effective solutions to the warfighter while continuing our legacy of meeting the challenging needs of our customers."

DRS recently signed an agreement with Roboteam to develop a solution for the army’s common robotic system – individual (CRS-I) programme.

Soldiers can use the CRS-I to perform lower-level reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection.