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The European Defense Agency EDA has started the ARTUS project (Autonomous Rough-terrain Transport UGV Swarm) with a kick-off event.

In a technological feasibility concept, possibilities are to be developed first, how infantry platoons can be supported during their operations by a small swarm of intelligent and autonomously operating unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). The supportive swarm is designed to significantly increase infantry performance by tracking equipment through harsh environments, including densely forested or sloping areas. The swarm should react autonomously to unexpected developments, such as the loss of parts of the swarm. Overall, the mobility and flexibility of the unit as well as the general level of protection of the troops are to be increased. The capabilities of the concept are to be demonstrated with a demonstrator.

The consortium is led by the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research eV (Germany) and also includes Onera (France), another established R&T organization, Diehl Defense (Germany), a global player for defense systems, and charismaTec (Austria), an innovative medium-sized company. The project, which is funded by the EU with 1.5 million euros, has a duration of 24 months.

EDA Projekt für Schwarmintelligenz mit unbemannten Bodenfahrzeugen
EDA Projekt für Schwarmintelligenz mit unbemannten Bodenfahrzeugen

The ARTUS project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defense Research (PADR), which was launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added value of EU-funded defense research and technology (R&T). PADR paved the way for its own European defense program, which will be launched with funds from the European Defense Fund (EDF). It is included in the EU's multiannual financial framework (2021-2027).

Gerhard Heiming