The Army will purchase an additional four unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and accessories from Queensland company Praesidium Global for $2 million.
“The unmanned ground vehicles will be used by the Army to support a 12-month user evaluation trial within the 2018–19 financial year,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said.
“Unmanned ground vehicles will enhance the Army’s capability through assisting our soldiers with a range of manual handling tasks, such as moving heavy loads and field equipment, and casualty evacuations.”
“During the trial, the Army will continue to explore the utility of robotics and autonomous systems and develop an understanding of how they can be best employed to support our soldiers.”
In a statement, Minister Pyne said the purchase was an excellent example of Defence supporting Australian sovereign defence industry.
“We are committed to building stronger relationships with defence industry and encouraging new innovative technology,” Minister Pyne said.
Andrew Wallace, Federal Member for Fisher where Praesidium Global is based, said that this contract was another great win for the growing Sunshine Coast defence industry.
“The Sunshine Coast is fast emerging as an Australian defence industry hub,” Mr Wallace said.
“My congratulations to David and the team at Praesidium Global. I look forward to working with them, and with our other Sunshine Coast defence industry businesses to make the most of future opportunities.”
Praesidium previously demonstrated its UGVs at Army Innovation Day. The tech can operate in different roles, such as MEDEVAC, logistics and general transportation.
ADM understands that increasing emphasis is being placed on the development of autonomous technology for military land vehicles, but full-scale operational capability is still some way off.