Europe’s leading robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) developer Milrem Robotics’ unmanned ground system THeMIS equipped with the company’s intelligent functions kit MIFIK, excelled at comprehensive first-of-its-kind autonomy trials organized by the Estonian Military Academy.
Last week, under the leadership of the Estonian Military Academy and the supervision of defence and autonomy specialists from Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK comprehensive trials of autonomous ground robots took place.
For two days at the Estonian Defence Forces central training area Milrem Robotics’ intelligent ground system was put to the test throughout increasingly complex scenarios during which observers from the aforementioned countries evaluated the elements needed to autonomously navigate on the road, off-road and in a dense forest – route planning, point-to-point movement, and obstacle avoidance. The tests assessed the technological readiness of the UGV and human-machine cooperation.
The scenarios included driving on dirt roads, small forest roads, open fields with and without high vegetation and in the forest with moderate to severe density.
“During the two days, we showcased a really mature autonomous system that is capable of handling very complex environments, succeeding even in the densest forest. Autonomy is a crucial and integral part of unmanned ground systems, especially on the battlefield, since it frees up manpower for other tasks and allows soldiers to concentrate on fulfilling their mission rather than operating vehicles,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
Väärsi emphasized that although Milrem’s intelligent functions can be hailed as a success based on the trials, autonomy development is a marathon, not a sprint and continuous improvements to reliability, features and the UI are being made by the company’s autonomy team and operatively delivered to customers via regular updates.
The autonomy trials were organized by the Estonian Military Academy in cooperation with other units of the Estonian Defence Forces and included 11 RAS developers from nine countries and visitors from nearly 20 countries. The event was partially funded by the Milrem Robotics’ led EDIDP integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (IMUGS) project and included the project’s autonomy team as a participant.