The Australian government has awarded a A$3.3 million contract to Cyborg Dynamics Engineering to develop a new semi-autonomous unmanned combat vehicle that would introduce a completely new capability for the Australian armed forces.
The contract is the Brisbane robotics and AI company’s first with the Defence Innovation Hub, a government program that seeks out opportunities for investment in innovative defense technologies.
“The Morrison government invests in Australian businesses like Cyborg Dynamics because we understand that truly cutting-edge innovation could provide leading capabilities and better protection for the Australian defense force,” defense industry ministry Melissa Price said.
Cyborg Dynamics is expected to integrate an array of supporting Australian technologies into a modular, robotic platform, which if successful, could enhance the load carriage, fire support capabilities and protection of dismounted soldiers.
It will also explore on-board AI target recognition and advanced driving technologies that could allow for single person operation.
This would enable the all-terrain platform to improve in-field soldier capabilities and lethality, ultimately reducing operator risk by providing a robotic-assisted force.
Cyborg Dynamics was already involved in similar projects, and was part of a team that developed the Warfighter unmanned ground vehicle, which is based on a BIA5 tracked chassis and features a remote weapon station from Canberra-based Electro Optic Systems. The user interface and and the Athena artificial intelligence bot for target evaluation were supplied by Cyborg Dynamics.
“The government’s investment in innovation through the Defence Innovation Hub is critical to ensuring defense maintains a capability advantage as Australia’s strategic environment continues to rapidly evolve,” minister Price said.