10/09/2014 Defence IQ Press
The Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) has partnered with the Army Research Lab and the Maneuver Battle Lab at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, to host a "Culvert Denial Challenge," where 20 defence contractors are competing to provide the latest technologies to defeat IEDs.
There are two challenges with ten contractors focusing on one each – there’s a surveillance challenge and an inspection challenge.
The objective of the competition is to “find some technology that will either improve upon current systems or can be added or provide new capability to culvert IED problems," said Matthew Way, a JIEDDO programme integrator.
For the surveillance challenge, vendors make use of unmanned systems, micro-radar technologies, seismic sensors, and hyperspectral imaging. They are monitoring a culvert for an eight-hour period that encompasses day, evening and night hours.
"Once we've secured a culvert, we wanted technology that can maintain security over that area," Way said. "The competition really focuses on their ability to distinguish, per the solicitation, between nefarious activity and something that is benign -- just regular patterns of life."
Vendors in the inspection challenge are demonstrating potential solutions using quadcopters, ground robots, canines, and electromagnetic sensors. They are tasked with various scenarios such as difficult terrain, night inspection, and a long culvert that challenges communication links.
"We are really measuring how quickly they can get into a culvert area and tell me if it's clear or not clear," he said. "The second component that we are scoring them on is, once they've done that, how accurately can they identify particular items that may be threats in the region."
Companies competing include EFW (Elbit), L-3 Communications, Niitek, Primal Innovation, QinetiQ, iRobot, K2 Solutions, Lockheed Martin, and Pearson Engineering.
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