Perth-based Strategic Elements Ltd’s (ASX:SOR) robotics subsidiary Stealth Technologies is conducting a programme to integrate airborne drones with its ground based autonomous and robotic vehicle platform.
Strategic Managing Director, Charles Murphy, says for sectors such as security, defence and resources, drones can augment ground based sensors to provide additional range and coverage through multi-angle video through cameras and fusion of extra sensor data (e.g thermal, LiDAR). A prototype is expected to be completed early Q4 2020.
The ‘Drone Capability’ development is an outcome of the ON Prime: Defence Program delivered by CSIRO in partnership with Defence Science and Technology (part of the Australian Department of Defence) that Stealth completed in November 2019.
Under the Defence Program. Stealth proposed to equip a fully autonomous ruggedized unmanned ground vehicle to include drone launching and landing capabilities. This would enable a flexible platform that could encompass intelligence, surveillance, and communications capabilities. It would also be a hive, containing multiple drones capable of recharging upon return in order to maximise their utility.
Mr Murphy said that as a result of the Program it was apparent that the technology could be initially deployed for use in security patrol and surveillance of critical infrastructure facilities which Stealth Technologies is targeting with its Autonomous Robotic Security Vehicle. A prototype is expected to be completed early Q4 2020.
A Robotic Security Vehicle is being developed for sectors such as transport, energy, defence, government and utilities providing critical services. Perimeter security enhances security to protect employees and assets from unauthorized intrusion in sensitive areas.
The Global Perimeter Security Market is forecast to be growing quickly at CAGR of 12.0% over the forecast period 2020-2026 (reaching US$282.26 Billion by 2025).
Although the first release is in the form of the ASV for security, the underlying AxV technology platform is scalable to a range of vehicle shapes and sizes and custom robotics are adaptable to perform a variety of physical actions and tasks. Further releases from the platform could be deployed for industries such as mining, agriculture and logistics.
The ON Prime: Defence Program seeks “innovative technologies that have the potential to deliver game-changing capabilities for Australia’s national security and defence” and provides a unique opportunity to fast-track a technology proposition with defence experts and potential end-users.
Mr Murphy said Stealth entered the Program with the view to assessing its technology for trusted autonomous systems’ and ‘integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance’.
The Program is delivered in under the Next Generation Technologies Fund, a $730 million fund focusing on emerging and future technologies for the “future Defence force after next’.