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SMi MRAS 2022: iMUGS conducts Arctic demonstration, readies for swarming and autonomy trials

Milrem Robotic's THeMIS UGV has been used in previous iMUGS trials. (Milrem Robotics)

Speaking to Janes at the SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference in London, Martin Jõesaar, chief of project office – integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS), Republic of Estonia Centre for Defence Investment, detailed recent and upcoming trials for the iMUGS project.

iMUGS is a multinational effort that is seeking to develop a European standard unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). The project includes six demonstrations during three years, with three trials having already been conducted.

In Finland, a demonstration was held in March, which investigated how unmanned systems, communications, and beyond-line-of-sight control performed in Arctic conditions. Jõesaar said that the systems handled the Arctic environment relatively well; however, snow did interfere and obstruct communications causing a small lag in the live picture relayed to the controller. He said, as a result, the biggest issue during the trial was with latency and bandwidth limitations, and he questioned whether a truly ‘live' picture was being presented. However, Jõesaar noted that 5G would help to improve the issue, and he hopes that it will be integrated in future demonstrations.

The next trial is planned for 2 June in Belgium, and this is set to demonstrate swarming capabilities, Jõesaar said. This will involve up to 10 UGVs operating in an urban area, he added. In September, trials in France will focus on autonomous capabilities.

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