(Source: UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory issued July 30, 2014)
£9 Million Available for Future of Maritime Autonomous Systems
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) through the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and in partnership with a number of associations and industry bodies is making £9 million available to support the future of Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS).
Autonomy in Maritime Unmanned Vehicles offers the potential to transform the manner in which many activities are conducted at sea such as the clearance of sea mines and persistent wide area surveillance. This funding for the development of MAS is available through four initiatives each addressing different areas of maritime autonomy.
Philip Smith, Affordable Maritime Presence Programme Manager at Dstl says: “The opportunities presented by Maritime Autonomous Systems are very exciting. However if we are to fully exploit these opportunities we need to invest in key areas such as “Supervised Autonomy” and “Deployment & Recovery” in order meet future requirements and position the UK as a world leader in next generation Maritime Mission Systems. The funding we are making available through these four initiatives is a significant step towards achieving this.”
The specific initiatives are:
-- Maritime Autonomous Systems (MUxV) Technology:
Sponsored by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, this competition addresses Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUVs) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for defence applications and is directed at SMEs in the Solent that can create or safeguard jobs in the local defence supply chain. The total funding available is worth £1 million and awards will be made for projects of up to £75,000 in value. The competition closes in April 2015. Find out more:
-- Autonomous Systems Underpinning Research (ASUR):
Addressing unmanned system enablers for all environments this competition, sponsored by Dstl, is worth £1.5 million. Open from September 2014 for a year, the competition will award projects of around £250,000 to be split into 2 phases. Find out more.
-- Adaptive Autonomous Ocean Sampling Networks:
A Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition sponsored by the Natural Environment Research Council and Dstl addressing the tracking of dynamic maritime features with unmanned vehicles. With a total of £1.5 million available the competition is open from September 2014 for 18 months and will award projects of around £250,000 to be split into 2 phases. Find out more:
-- Towards Excellence in Maritime Autonomous Systems:
Recently announced by the Minister for Portsmouth, Matthew Hancock, the competition sponsored by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, and Dstl addresses Maritime Unmanned Vehicles for defence and civil applications. Open from October 2014 for 3 years the competition is worth £5 million and will award projects of between £500,000 and £1.5 million directed to collaborative, business-led, consortia. Find out more.
Dstl is a trading fund of the MOD, run along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to S&T in the defence and security field, with three main sites at Porton Down, near Salisbury, Portsdown West, near Portsmouth, and Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks.
Dstl works with a wide range of partners and suppliers in industry, in academia and overseas. Around 60% of MOD’s Science and Technology Programme is delivered by these external partners and suppliers.
Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was formed after the Government offered local areas the opportunity to take control of their future economic development. It is a locally-owned partnership between business, education and local authorities and plays a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs.