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Ground unmanned vehicles and robots are becoming an operational reality in military forces around the world. Recently, the Direction Générale de l’Armement has awarded a contract to Safran Electronics & Defense and its partner Effidence for a study, dubbed “Furious,” on future robots for the French Army’s combat units, the procurement office said.
The aim is to test three demonstrators of different size with an infantry platoon from 2019 in the training center for urban warfare.
The five-year contract is intended to lay the groundwork for the integration of land robots in French armed forces, as part of the Scorpion modernization program. A DGA spokesman declined to give a value on the Furious contract.
The procurement office selected an off-the-shelf autonomous vehicle, the eRider, which Safran had developed for the armed forces’ needs. The eRider will be the largest of the three robots in the study.
According to c4isrnet.com, the study will look into robots for missions including reconnaissance, inspection inside a building and carrying equipment, with a focus on autonomous movement over obstacles and various surface conditions, the DGA said. The aim is to identify the key technology for use in land robots, pursue maturity of that technology and lead to a concept of operations.
The DGA seeks to promote small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups through such science and technology projects, the acquisition office said.
Some 10 small and medium-sized enterprises and French laboratories will work with Safran and Effidence on the Furious project.