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Driverless vehicle developer Horiba MIRA welcomes MoD’s £6.6bn military tech pledge

Driverless vehicle developer Horiba MIRA welcomes MoD's £6.6bn military tech pledge
The VIKING can use AI to drive itself

Vehicle engineering specialist Horiba MIRA has welcomed a £6.6 billion R&D pledge from the Ministry of Defence as a big boost for UK innovators.

Management at the huge vehicle test facility, near Hinckley, in west Leicestershire, have been calling for more help for experimentation in defence artificial intelligence and autonomy.

The site has recently helped with development of two new autonomous vehicles, called Viking and Merlin, which could play a part in maintaining the UK’s military advantage in the coming years.

Based on a former airfield, Horiba MIRA is leading the UK’s role in designing and development the next generation of driverless and intelligent civilian and military vehicles.

It works with many of the biggest defence engineering contractors as well as the biggest car makers.

Robert Mohacsi, senior commercial manager for defence systems at Horiba MIRA, said: “There is going to be a significant shake-up in defence spending and procurement, and we particularly welcome the MoD’s commitment to developing home-grown defence technology, skills and expertise.

“The spending pledged by the MoD is a real shot in the arm for UK innovators because it should give the funding needed not just to develop the technology but critically pull it through in to service.

“At Horiba MIRA, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of high-technology research in areas including AI for recognition and navigation in the absence of GPS, and autonomy. Our platform VIKING is a great example of this – a fully British designed and developed solution to help the defence sector meet complex and demanding challenges.”

The vehicle engineering consultancy last year secured a big contract to supply VIKING – the first autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle of its kind – to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The comments come during an overhaul of the UK’s security and defence policies, initially set out in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in March, which unveiled the government’s proposals to prioritise technological innovation vital to national security.

Meanwhile, the Defence Command Papers, released on March 22, provide greater detail on what this means for the different defence services.

In addition, a separate defence AI strategy and a Defence Centre for Artificial intelligence is set to be unveiled in the coming months.

Source: www.business-live.co.uk

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