Rheinmetall Defence Australia has signed a five year strategic research and development alliance agreement with Defence Science and Technology (DST) to develop autonomous vehicle systems for land based platforms.
The agreement will focus on the development of autonomous technology to support land based platforms in the ADF. This will include research and development around capabilities to support the Boxer CRV capability Rheinmetall is delivering under the $5.2 billion Land 400 Phase 2 program.
In a statement, Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo's office noted the importance of the agreement to ADF soldiers.
"Research in autonomous systems is a must to achieve future warfighting success and partnering with industry ensures Defence stays ahead of the technology curve."
The strategic research and development alliance agreement was signed at DST’s Fishermans Bend facilities in Melbourne by Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart and Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky.
Stewart welcomed the new agreement as the first of a series of announcements focused on building the company’s research and development footprint in Australia and establishing a sovereign military vehicle capability.
“Rheinmetall has significant expertise across autonomous systems in both the commercial automotive and defence sectors and we look forward to working collaboratively with the high calibre team at DST to bring this capability to Australia and explore its potential for the ADF,” Stewart said.
Rheinmetall’s capabilities in autonomous land platforms for defence include the Boxer JODAA operational and technology demonstrator which has been built for the German Bundeswehr and tests a range of technical capabilities, from remote controlled driving supported by camera systems to autonomous operations such as the operation of unmanned aerial or ground vehicles.
Stewart said the partnership with DST would also introduce future academic and commercial partners into the autonomous vehicles program.