The European Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) has awarded Milrem Robotics-led consortium €30.6 million to develop a European standardized unmanned ground system.
During the project, a modular and scalable architecture for hybrid manned-unmanned systems will be developed to standardize a European wide ecosystem for aerial and ground platforms, command, control and communication equipment, sensors, payloads, and algorithms. The prototype system will utilize an existing unmanned ground vehicle – Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS – and a specific list of payloads.
The outcome of the project will be demonstrated in operational environments and relevant climatic conditions as part of participating member states military exercises or at separate testing grounds.
The total cost of the project, titled iMUGS (integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System), is €32.6 million of which €30.6 million will be provided by the European Commission.
The project is led by Estonia and its technical requirements have also been agreed with Finland, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, France, and Spain who are planning on financing the remaining €2 million of the projects budget.
During the project operational know-how will be gathered and concepts for the combined engagement of manned and unmanned assets developed, while considering the ethical aspects applicable to robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems. State-of-the-art virtual and constructive simulation environments will also be set up.
iMUGS will be a cooperation between 14 parties: Milrem Robotics (project coordinator), GT Cyber Technologies, Safran Electronics & Defense, NEXTER Systems, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Diehl Defence, Bittium Wireless, Insta DefSec, (Un)Manned, dotOcean, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, GMV Aerospace and Defence, the Estonian Military Academy and Royal Military Academy of Belgium.
The objectives of the EDIDP programme are to contribute to the strategic autonomy of the European Union and to strengthen the cooperation between Member States. The priorities include enabling high-end operations of military forces with special focus on intelligence and secured communications and cyber. Actions include development of next generation ground combat capabilities and solutions in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Cyber technologies.