First demonstration of European standard unmanned ground vehicle

First demonstration of European standard unmanned ground vehicle

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Milrem Robotics in Estonia has demonstrated an autonomous off-road unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) for the first time as part of a project to develop a standard European system.

The requirements for the standardized UGV as part of the iMUGS project have been set by seven EU member states Estonia, the leader of the project, and Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, and Spain.

The autonomy demonstration was performed using two of Milrem’s THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles. First, one UGV followed a human operator walking along a path with various obstacles. Second, the operator took control of the first UGV using Line of Sight (LoS) control and set the second THeMIS to follow the first one from waypoint A to B.

 After a successful performance, the second THeMIS was commanded to return home via Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Integration Kit’s (MIFIK) Mission Planner.

While en route, the operator stepped in front of the UGVs path to trigger its obstacle detection and auto-stop feature. After the operator had passed through the UGVs path, the vehicle continued its way to its home point.

During the iMUGS demonstration, the projects consortium partners showcased how the THeMIS can be deployed onto the battlefield using common Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and teamed with unmanned aerial systems. The specific technology used was the Boxer APC by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and a tethered drone by Acecore Technologies. A multirotor drone by Atlas Dynamics was also part of the scenario.

“Intelligent functions are a crucial part of unmanned systems as they allow soldiers to concentrate on their mission rather than focusing on operating the system. Unmanned ground systems with follow-me, return home, and point-to-point navigation functionalities considerably enhance the fighting capability of units,” said (reserve Captain) Jüri Pajuste, Defence R&D Director at Milrem Robotics.

“MIFIK will be delivered to several THeMIS users around the world already this year,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. “Starting from 2022, certified autonomous and intelligent functions will be part of THeMIS’ basic configuration. THeMIS + MIFIK users will receive annual updates with new capabilities and enhancements.”

The THeMIS ground vehicle was also integrated with Acecore’s tethered drone operating Beyond the Line of Sight (BLOS). A second scenario was to retrieve a casualty from a crashed vehicle and afterwards retrieve the vehicle. Both actions were performed with the THeMIS UGV while the Boxer towed the UGV into the mission area and Atlas’ drone provided overwatch and situational awareness.

Milrem Robotics has two offices in Estonia, one in Sweden and Finland and is opening one in the Netherlands.

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