The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Home Office have launched two competitions seeking solutions to defence issues.
The first competition is seeking new products that will allow operators to manage more than 20 unmanned air systems (UAS) across the electro-magnetic spectrum in a contested environment.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is looking for open, modular UAS systems, as well as mission management solutions and technology for operating UAS.
The second competition calls on bidders for autonomous systems that can assess hazardous scenes, such as sites contaminated by chemical and biological hazards.
It is in line with the Defence Innovation Initiative launched recently by UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
The MoD recently announced a £800m investment programme to support the development of defence technologies.
Fallon then said: “Our Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 underlined the significant technological changes that have taken place in recent years.
“We’ve witnessed a technological revolution where the private sector, rather than the public now takes the lead.”
The potential autonomous systems will be able to identify the presence of hazardous materials, map their location, monitor changes in the environment, and take samples for analysis.
Phase I of both competitions will be backed by funding of up to £1m, with further financial support available for Phase II.