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BAE SYSTEMS’ technologies help MIRA meet the ’CHALLENGE’


Farnborough, UK - BAE Systems is using its expertise in the area of autonomy to support a team led by MIRA in a UK MoD competition to encourage innovation which benefits the front line.

The MoD Grand Challenge has been devised to harness innovation in the UK defence industrial base to address the challenges facing the modern military. Particular focus has been placed on the autonomous identification, monitoring and reporting of military threats in an urban environment and

“We have been examining autonomy across air, land and sea for a number of years and this research has resulted in some incredible technology,” said James Baker, technology & engineering services director at BAE Systems. “We currently work with MIRA, using their facilities to test our autonomous Wildcat vehicle, supporting their entry in the Grand Challenge seemed a natural progression.”

Under the rules of the challenge participating vehicles must autonomously identify four distinct targets – a sniper, an improvised explosive device, a vehicle and a troop of potential enemies – at the MOD’s Copehill Down village in Wiltshire. MIRA’s team approach is to use an unmanned ground vehicle incorporating technologies and knowledge from MIRA, ERA, BAE Systems, Warwick University and Guilford High School.

“Having worked so closely with BAE Systems we have seen what their technology can do and felt its inclusion would enhance our entry in the Challenge,” said Chris Mellors from MIRA. “We are also very fortunate to be one of the six teams awarded funding to develop our entry further.”

The Grand Challenge is due to take place in the summer of 2008 and will involve participants ranging from large defence firms, to small-medium sized enterprises and universities.

“It is encouraging to see so many contributors to the SEAS DTC supporting the Grand Challenge,” says Simon Jewell, Chairman of the Systems Engineering for Autonomous Systems Defence Technology Centre. “This demonstrates the high standard of innovation in the field of autonomy at all levels of British industry and will certainly make for an interesting competition.”


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