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Rheinmetall to develop autonomous systems for fighting vehicles

Rheinmetall Defence Australia will work with Australian research and colleagues in Canada and Germany to develop autonomous control systems for infantry fighting vehicles such as the Boxer shown here. (Credit: Defence)

Rheinmetall Defence Australia will develop advanced sovereign robotics and automated vehicle technologies for armoured vehicles under a new partnership with multiple Australian research institutions.

Rheinmetall’s Australian, German, and Canadian development teams will work with autonomy and robotics experts from DST, the CSIRO, QUT and RMIT University under the German parent company’s Autonomous Combat Warrior (ACW) program.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the program would lead the Australian development of next generation automated combat vehicle technologies for integration into the global family of Rheinmetall vehicle platforms.

The company says its focus is on the automation of driving capabilities. Rheinmetall’s global contribution will be focussed on the company’s Melbourne base and on its recently opened Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, QLD. Rheinmetall is already working with DST under a 5-year R&D alliance on the development of advanced automated vehicle systems, some of which will support the company’s Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle which the company is building at Redbank under the $5.2 billion Project Land 400 Ph.2.

The ACW program’s R&D objectives are to:

  • Develop game-changing autonomous technologies in Australia
  • Leverage Rheinmetall’s global R&D efforts and existing vehicle platforms and technologies, to fast track the development of autonomous technologies
  • Develop a platform agnostic Autonomous Kit (A-kit), suited for integration into a variety of on- and off-road military vehicles
  • Partner with the Australian research community and local industry with deep technical expertise to solve complex development problems
  • Generate a strong return on investment to the Australian government, in the form of employment and sovereign robotics capability
  • Work with the Australian Army to support its evaluation and strategy development for the use of autonomous vehicles
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