Army uses MoD Grand Challenge winning technology

An autonomous mini-tank, developed for the...

An autonomous mini-tank, developed for the Ministry of Defence's Grand Challenge contest, could be at the disposal of the British Army in 18 months.

The technology known as Saturn was developed by Grand Challenge winners Team Stellar. Stellar is a collaborative group with research companies working with software developed at Cranfield University that carries out automatic target recognition.

Teams in the contest had to develop air and ground vehicles for identifying threats faced by the armed forces such as snipers.

The robots were judged on their ability to detect marksmen, vehicles mounted with heavy weapons, groups of armed foot soldiers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) such as roadside bombs.

The winning team used an integrated system combining a high-flying unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with a control station fusing data from visual, thermal and radar sensors.

Team leader Julia Richardson said: "The MoD might cherry pick bits of the system it likes, and might not fund the whole system even though we won, but there are signs we will receive further funding for Saturn and it could be in service within 18 months. I very much hope we will be involved in developing the product further."

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