Rheinmetall has launched Autonomous Combat Warrior (ACW), which is its first Australian research and technology (R&T) programme.
The ACW programme will see the company collaborate with local partners to develop advanced sovereign robotics and automated vehicle technologies.
This will aid in the development of next-generation automated combat vehicle technologies, which will be integrated into Rheinmetall’s vehicle platforms family.
The development teams from Rheinmetall Australia, Germany and Canada will partner with research teams from government, industry and academia.
The teams include Defence Science and Technology (DST) group, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
Additionally, the R&T programme will use existing vehicle platforms and technologies, to accelerate the development process. The development of Autonomous Kit (A-kit) platform will help be used in the integration of road and off-road military vehicles.
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Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said: “ACW’s goal is to fundamentally change the way in which land vehicles support military operations by transforming a vehicle from tool to teammate to provide currently unachievable levels of soldier protection, support and tactical advantage.
“This will see the Australian development of the next generation of land vehicle systems warfighting capability, with an emphasis on developing trusted automated systems which provide human-machine teaming and optional crewed control.”
The A-kit provides autonomous capabilities such as robotic vehicle control, ‘follow me’ control, autonomous waypoint navigation, and GPS allowed / denied navigation.
Integrated into the Mission Master, it will serve as the fundamental software architecture for the programme.
Work on this programme will continue across Rheinmetall’s Australian, Canadian and German facilities, with research limited to its operations in Melbourne and the new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (CoE).
The CoE is located in Redbank, Queensland and is expected to complete in the second half of this year.