Defence manufacturer BAE systems demonstrated two fully autonomous armoured vehicles for the Australian Army this week, providing insights into autonomous technologies on future battlefields.
The ‘battlefield simulation’ demonstration was held at the Majura Training Site where the Chief of Army was shown two customised M113 tracked armoured vehicles (pictured) in operation.
BAE Systems engineers and technicians spent six months installing hardware and software in the vehicles enabling them to operate autonomously.
BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan said: “This project highlights our commitment to leading the development of new technologies and collaborating across industry and academia to advance autonomous capabilities.
“Autonomous technologies will support soldier responsiveness in an accelerating warfare environment – increasing their ability to outpace, out-manoeuvre and out-think conventional and unconventional threats.”
Fully autonomous technologies could remove soldiers from future battlefields entirely and enable autonomous intelligence gathering and logistics support.
The on-board systems on the M113s have been designed to comply with the army’s rules of engagement, which always require a human in the decision-making loop.
Costigan said BAE Systems Australia’s autonomous systems capability leverages more than three decades of collaboration with the Commonwealth Government through programmes such as the Nulka anti ship missile decoy rocket and the naval Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM).
The BAE Systems autonomous technologies used for this project have already supported Australian and UK autonomy programmes and unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) demonstrators.
With the technologies now integrated into the M113 prototype, the army will be able to further develop its Robotics and Autonomous Systems Strategy.
The vehicles will also be used as test vehicles for technology developed by the Canberra’s recently announced Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS-DCRC).
BAE Systems is a founding member of the CRC.
Picture: BAE Systems Australia
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