UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew has named the winning companies of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) Innovation Challenge at the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
The MoD has provided more than £10m in awards to defence firms offering innovative technology solutions to address the country’s major future demands in the areas of autonomy and big data.
Winning technologies will receive a combined investment of more than £4m from the defence department to support their development in addition to another £6m from industry partners.
Selected projects include Close Air Solutions’ Project Hyper Real Immersion, QinetiQ’s software-defined multifunction LIDAR, and the Polaris AntsOnDeck solution, as well as Horiba Mira’s unmanned ground vehicle localisation and perception using Deep Learning Neural Networks.
Andrew said: “From shrewd navigation software, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven autonomous vehicles, laser radar to mixed reality training systems, today’s winners are a clear demonstration of industry rising to meet the complex challenges of modern warfare.
“The MoD, working with commercial partners, will see these pioneering technologies go from the drawing board to the battlefield.”
Close Air Solutions’ Project Hyper Real Immersion enables fully networked live air combat training exercises with Nato and coalition partners, which will help reduce costs and enhance personnel safety.
The QinetiQ solution has been designed to provide a range of high-tech capabilities such as 3D imaging, optical communication and covert targeting. The LIDAR system can be integrated on to small satellites, as well as unmanned and manned platforms.
The Horiba Mira-built super-intelligent navigation system uses AI algorithms to identify landmarks around a military vehicle in order to ensure an enhanced situational awareness.
Polaris’ AntsOnDeck technology autonomously shows the best routes for the unmanned surface vehicles in order to increase fuel efficiency, which can facilitate expanded operations, provide real-time awareness of conditions and environment, and can be extended to platforms across the air, land and sea domains.
The current funding for the Innovation Challenge winners is part of the UK Government’s larger £800m Defence Innovation Fund.