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Photos: Military robot wars

MoD reveals Grand Challenge winner...
By Julian Goldsmith, Contributor on
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1 of 6 Julian Goldsmith/ZDNET

MoD reveals Grand Challenge winner...

The MoD has announced the winner of its Grand Challenge competition to produce a vehicle capable of identifying threats encountered by UK troops on current operations.

Team Stellar beat off six other hopefuls, whittled down from 23, in the final competition set in Copehill Down, a military training facility on Salisbury Plain.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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2 of 6 Julian Goldsmith/ZDNET

Stellar's Saturn Unmanned Ground Vehicle works with two other types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to gather data about the battlefield from a variety of perspectives. The system is managed by a control station that combines visual, thermal and radar data.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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3 of 6 Julian Goldsmith/ZDNET

Stellar Research has designed a system that relies on three separate autonomous platforms - an Unmanned Ground Vehicle, up to six medium-height Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and one high-level UAV. The intention is to build a system that can be used to analyse the battlefield from a macro and micro level.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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4 of 6 Julian Goldsmith/ZDNET

The Ministry of Defence put up funding for the six teams participating in the final. The competition was launched in 2006 to design autonomous units capable of identifying a range of threats. The final at Copehill Down, an urban warfare training facility mocked up as a complete village, included actors dressed as militia.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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5 of 6 Julian Goldsmith/ZDNET

One of the runners up, Team Swarm, was awarded a prize for the most innovative idea. The swarm system is made up of a number of small, lightweight four rotor helicopters capable of viewing the area from all angles using high resolution cameras.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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A secondary goal of the Grand Challenge competition was to encourage deeper collaboration between private and public sector organisations in defence research.

Team Stellar comprises: Airborne Systems, Blue Bear Systems, Cranfield University, Marshall SELEX Sensors, Specialist Vehicles Stellar Services and TRW Conekt.

Team leader Julian Richardson, pictured here, cradles the RJ Mitchell Trophy, named after the designer of the World War II Spitfire fighter plane, the metal from one of which was used to make the trophy.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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