Strategic Elements Ltd’s (ASX:SOR) (OTCMKTS:SORHF) subsidiary Stealth Technologies will design and deliver an autonomous drone carrying vehicle that automates detection and sensing of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.
This autonomous vehicle will be designed to carry drones and sensors into a target environment keeping humans at a safe distance and will enable rapid traversing of the target area using sensors to map and monitor the location of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) sources.
Working with Defence Science Technology Group
The company will collaborate with the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG), part of the Australian Department of Defence, and the University of Western Australia (UWA) to build the solution and conduct a live demonstration to the Army.
In recognition of the potential for the Western Australian defence industry, DSTG, UWA and the Western Australia Defence Science Centre have committed to provide $350,000 of cash and in-kind services to the collaboration while Stealth Technologies will invest about $350,000.
Under the funding agreement, Stealth Technologies retains 100% of the IP and associated commercialisation rights for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) capabilities and other defence force related applications.
The initial concept design of the autonomous vehicle and drone launch and the land system is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
Strategic managing director Charles Murphy said: “The Autonomous CBRN Vehicle has the ability to mitigate certain risks that our Australian Defence personnel face in CBRN environments whilst increasing the efficiency and accuracy of CBRN detection and sensing.
“I am proud of our Stealth team, the AxV Autonomous Platform is gaining significant credibility and trust amongst some very serious players looking for autonomous solutions.
“We see significant commercial opportunities to build its value across multiple sectors such as security, defence, mining and logistics.”
Investors have also welcomed the arrangement with shares as much as 12% higher intra-day to A$0.24.
Stealth Technologies AxV autonomous vehicle platform is currently deployed in perimeter security applications through the Stealth ASV (Autonomous Security Vehicle).
The company’s CBRN collaboration will leverage existing IP and collaborative work conducted with organisations such as Honeywell, WA Department of Justice, UWA, CSIRO and Planck AeroSystems.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for CBRN Defence was estimated at US$16.2 billion in the year 2020 and is projected to reach a revised size of US$21.9 billion by 2027.
Stealth Technologies had previously announced a scoping study to integrate DSTG developed CBRN search algorithms with a Stealth autonomous drone carrying vehicle and this collaboration will carry out the integration of these algorithms with Stealth’s technology.
DSTG will provide personnel, existing DSTG developed CBRN search algorithms and access to ongoing search algorithm development and implementation support.
Additionally, DSTG will also provide access to facilities and equipment and assistance with arranging access to Defence test sites.
Furthermore, Stealth Technologies has been awarded the DSG’s collaborative research grant funding which aims to grow the local defence industry, investigate advanced manufacturing capabilities, and create jobs.
This collaboration will deliver an Autonomous CBRN Vehicle that can navigate itself through an environment using Stealth Autodrive Hardware (autonomous technologies) and Stealth OS Software (sensor fusion, computer vision, AI & Neural Networks)
Support from experts
The DSTG team is led by Dr Robert Hunjet, Research Leader of Land Division’s Protection and Networked Autonomy Major Science and Technology Capability.
Dr Hunjet also serves as the Deputy Theme Lead for Trusted Autonomous Systems within the Federal Government’s $730M Next Generation Technology Fund.
The UWA team is led by Professor Thomas Bräunl who has been actively collaborating with the Stealth Technologies team for many years.
Professor Bräunl is ex-BMW and Daimler-Chrysler and has developed the autonomous BMW X5, SAE racing car and shuttle bus, public-use EV charging network (Perth) and EV conversions.
- Ephrems Joseph