UK competitions for detecting explosives and autonomous sensors

UK competitions for detecting explosives and autonomous sensors

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched two competitions to develop sensor technologies.

One competition aims to find new ways of detecting explosives and is run by DASA on behalf of The Innovative Research Call (IRC). This collaboration is one of the links the UK has with the US through science and innovation.

The other is aimed at Autonomous sensor management and sensor counter deception, run by DASA on behalf of the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (dstl).

Projects for detecting explosives will run for six months to develop proof of concept. Around £2.1 million will be available for proposals in Phase 2 to develop and complete their prototypes or demonstrators by the end of May 2026.

The autonomous sensor counter deception competition is worth a total of £800,000 competition for autonomous sensor management and sensor deception in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) scenarios.

This is looking at sensor management capabilities for deciding and executing the actions that a group of sensors should take in a given scenario. There is increasing need for algorithms which will process information and disseminate instructions to address queries at human or AI rates.

This has to be compatible with the Stone Soup framework which is led by dstl. This is an open source software framework for the Five-Eyes countries of the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to better track missiles, vehicles or drones. The algorithms that crunch the data are complex and difficult to compare so the software framework allows the algorithms to be compared, side-by-side, in a “bake-off” against realistic data. Dstl has made the project available to anyone wanting to upload and test their tracking algorithms.

This allows developers to model a huge number of outcomes, which can be measured on how they improve survivability, safety, or operational effectiveness.

The competitions will also demonstrate autonomous sensor management by applying the algorithms in simulation in the framework.

A second stream for Sensor Counter Deception will demonstrate methods to counter sensor deception, developing techniques to enable an understanding of the impact deceptive strategies have on situation awareness.

There is a Q&A session with an Eventbrite page.


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