Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has secured a new contract to support the US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center with the development of autonomous and robotic vehicles.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract may value up to $34m over five years.

As agreed, the institute will be responsible for project management, research and development (R&D), modelling and simulation, software development, systems integration, testing and data analysis services.

SwRI principal engineer Joseph Hernandez, who is supervising the programme, said: “SwRI is proud to continue developing the latest autonomous and robotic systems for the US military.

“This IDIQ contract offers a more direct link to our end customers and allows us to provide more innovative solutions to support our warfighters.”

Founded in 1947, SwRI is a not-for-profit, applied R&D organisation in the US.

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SwRI started developing automated vehicle (AV) technology in 2006 as part of a multidisciplinary internal research programme called Mobile Autonomous Robotics Technology Initiative (MARTI).

Gradually, the programme expanded to serve military and commercial clients.

In the autonomous vehicle space, SwRI is engaged in developing mobile platforms such as compact, purpose-built autonomous vehicles, automated high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and larger tactical vehicles.

It has also developed aerial drones that can be integrated with military ground vehicles.

The organisation has been associated with the US Army’s autonomous robotic vehicle systems programme for more than a decade.

It has added robotics systems onto more than 15 unique military ground vehicle platforms. Some of these units were deployed overseas.