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Robotic and Autonomous Systems

Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) will change future battlespaces and the way Army trains and fights.

Army’s 2022 RAS Strategy outlines how we will explore ways we team up with machines and systems through three themes; intelligent machine, machine to machine teaming, and human to machine teaming.

The benefits of RAS technology include maximising soldier performance, improving decision making, generating mass and scalable effects, protecting the force and operational efficiencies.

In collaboration with industry, academia, allies and partners, Army will explore emerging RAS opportunities through a ‘learn by doing’ approach that leverages the knowledge, skills and potential of our people.

Leader-Follower Trial

The Australian Army operated an autonomous truck convoy on a public road in mid-2023 – the first time this had been done in Australia. Supported by Deakin University and Australian Road Research Board, the milestone is part of the leader-follower trial, in which a convoy of four autonomous Army trucks follow a crewed ‘lead’ vehicle.

Land Autonomous Systems and Teaming demonstration

Human-machine teams allow the Australian Army to generate mass and reduce risk to our soldiers. This demonstration conducted by RICO highlights how autonomous and uncrewed systems, including swarms, can assist Army soldiers in critical situations.

Soldiers learn to operate Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles

Soldiers from 9th Brigade, 13th Brigade and the School of Armour recently learnt how to operate uncrewed M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers with integrated remote weapon systems.

Captain Balazs Bauer, Future Land Warfare Branch said the Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicle with tele-operated weapon stations enables us to engage enemy targets and engage threats from a distance.

RICO is exploring the application of emerging technologies to gain insights into how to better project power while removing soldiers from the first line of engagement.

Leader Follower convoy

Army's autonomous truck convoy a first

The Army successfully operated an autonomous truck convoy on a public road in Australia for the first time on June 6.

The National Transport Research Organisation and Deakin University supported the ­leader-follower trial, in which a convoy of four autonomous Army trucks followed a crewed ‘leader’ vehicle on a public road in Victoria.

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Brain Robotic Interface (BRI) 2022 update

Did you know that brain signals can control robotic and autonomous systems?

The Brain Robotic Interface is designed to merge a soldier’s strategy, expertise and creativity with the overall mass and effects of Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) to create a significant force multiplier.

Trials in 2022 demonstrated the potential use of human-machine teams.

Military drones in an offensive formation

Capability of drones on show

Col Smith said the technology would change the way Army trains and fights, improve decision-making, generate mass and scalable effects as well as reduce risk to our soldiers.

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Australian Army officer Colonel Robin Smith receives technology briefings from officers and soldiers of the Robotic Experimentation Platoon at CENZUB in Sissonne, France.

Army looks to a robotic future

Australian Army personnel strengthened ties with the French Army during a visit to the Robotic Experimentation Platoon at the Centre d'Entraînement aux Actions en Zone Urbaine, in Sissone, France.

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Leader-Follower 2022 update

RICO is leading into technology through experimentation of autonomous Leader-Follower trucks, a collaboration with Deakin University and the Australian Road Research Board.

Trials at Point Cook, Avalon and Bathurst in 2022 helped to identify and address technical, operational and regulatory challenges to enable the use of autonomy in the future. The Bathurst trial marked the first time Army has operated autonomous vehicles on a controlled public road. 

Project GUS

Project GUS provides 50 days of continuous ISR

Army has partnered with Outlook Industries to explore applications of anti-poaching technology in a warfare environment. The surveillance technology can provide up to 50 days of continuous surveillance. This technology has the potential to increase efficiencies, relieve soldiers for more meaningful tasks and most importantly, protect the soldier.

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Leader-Follower 2021 update

RICO is leading into technology through experimentation of autonomous Leader-Follower trucks, a collaboration with Deakin University and the Australian Road Research Board.

Trials at Monegeetta in June 2021 tested the application of autonomy on a closed road and sought to understand the areas requiring further development.

 

Autonomous Ammunition Loading System

RICO is trialling an autonomous ammunition loading system project in collaboration with Eclips Logistics and Universal Field Robotics through the Defence Innovation Hub.

A concept demonstration in 2022 looked to understand the application of robotics to increase efficiency and remove the manual burden on soldiers, reducing injuries and reallocating them to address higher priority tasks.

Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles 2021 update

RICO is experimenting with enhancing current vehicles into Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCV) to allow for remote control operation. OCCV’s have the potential to protect force and generate mass and scalable effects.

Trials at Mangalore in 2021 sought to understand the level of autonomy required for different warfare environments. 

Further reading

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