skip to main content

FAVSA 2023: British Army to develop remote pilot pod for operating UGVs

The RPP will be used to control UGVs from inside a manned platform, such as the Foxhound mine-protected vehicle pictured. By enabling the operators to remain within close range of the UGV, it could help overcome some of the communications issues that have been encountered in trials with UGV wingmen at beyond-line-of-sight ranges. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The British Army's Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) is developing a remote pilot pod (RPP) for the operation of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), Lieutenant Colonel James de St John-Pryce, commanding officer of the British Army Directorate Capability revealed on the first day of SAE Media Group's Future Armoured Vehicles Situational Awareness (FAVSA) 2023 conference held in London from 24 to 25 April.

Intended as a proof of concept, the RPP will be a standardised tele-operation unit that can be used for remote control of a UGV wingman from within a manned platform. This will allow the manned platform and its UGV wingman to operate in concertsimilar to a ‘tennis doubles pair'.

A key goal of the concept will be to demonstrate progress towards ATDU's goal of achieving ‘situational immersion' for UGV operators by making them feel as if they are inside the unmanned platform being controlled. This will require a ‘glass armour' situational awareness system to enable operators to see everything that the UGV can see in real time. It will also mandate the use of a large display screen inside the RPP, as having to shift attention from multiple screens will break the immersion.

In addition, the RPP will showcase how it may be possible in the future to reduce the crew of manned platforms from either three or four personnel to two by putting greater reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and prioritise potential targets.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...