Britain’s Ministry of Defence is offering a ₤400,000 pot of money to anyone who can establish an autonomous submarine efficient in withstanding naval depth charges.
In the latest phase of its “autonomy in difficult environments” R&D programme, the ministry wants to speak with companies who can build undersea robotics that can make it through “abrupt and enduring pressure or acoustic extremes undersea” as well as “congested and objected to [electromagnetic] environments (consisting of radio frequency (RF) emissions)”.
” Lots of self-governing systems have been developed and optimised in perfect conditions,” said the MoD in its competition file, adding that “as a result, there is a requirement for innovations to boost the performance of self-governing systems in challenging environments to support existing and future military operations.”
As Much As ₤400 k is offered to successful applicants to the programme, with the total readily available quantity being topped at ₤ 2m.
The so-called “unmanned undersea lorry” must have “the capability to sense, translate, and understand its regional environment, and after that react autonomously to that understanding” in a manner that assists it prevent bumping into the seabed– or depth charges, presumably visited pursuing Russian or Chinese warships attempting to damage the robot sub.
Lest the robotic sub go bananas under the stress of being depth-charged, the ministry likewise desires solid concepts on “how the self-governing system continues to perform the mission efficiently and securely in line with the human operator’s intent” if it loses comms with the meatsacks twiddling its knobs back at base.
They also wish to make sure the autonomous lorry makes an effort to return in contact with human beings to finish its duties after losing touch, rather than doing a Marvin the Paranoid Android and stomping off in a huff.
Along with the robot sub, the MoD is continuing its push to invest in all things drone, consisting of anti-drone tech The latest competitors covers unmanned undersea vehicles, sea surface area lorries, ground and air automobiles, doing a range of jobs from simple security through moving supplies around– and, potentially, more.
Seriously, possible suppliers of robo-mateys to the Royal Navy need to be able to advance “proof of principle research which has already shown possible and been equated to useful presentation.” They do not desire space robotics either: “We are focussing inside the Earth’s environment.”
Next year the Royal Navy is due to sail aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into the South China Sea, carrying a lots F-35 Lightning fighter jets from the US Marine Corps as well as a squadron of British-owned Lightnings. She will be accompanied by 2 anti-submarine frigates, 2 anti-aircraft destroyers, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, a tanker and an ammo resupply ship. The United States and the Netherlands are supplying one accompanying warship each. ®