The Australian Army will purchase an additional four unmanned ground vehicles from Queensland’s Praesidium Global as it looks to bolster its development and acquisition of robotics and autonomous systems.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne confirmed the Australian Army will fund the purchase of four unmanned ground vehicles and accessories from Praesidium Global at a total acquisition cost of $2 million.
Minister Pyne said the purchase is in line with Defence's vision to create and support an Australian sovereign defence industry.
"We are committed to building stronger relationships with defence industry and encouraging new innovative technology," Minister Pyne said.
"The unmanned ground vehicles will be used by the Army to support a 12-month user evaluation trial within the 2018-19 financial year.
"Unmanned ground vehicles will enhance the Army’s capability through assisting our soldiers with a range of manual handling tasks, such as moving heavy loads and field equipment, and casualty evacuations."
During the trial, the Army will also look at the utility of robotics and autonomous systems to develop an understanding of how they can be best employed to support Australian soldiers.
Andrew Wallace, federal member for Fisher where Praesidium Global is based, said that this contract was another great win for the growing Sunshine Coast defence industry.
"The Sunshine Coast is fast emerging as an Australian defence industry hub. I have been working hard to support this growth with my Fisher Defence Industry Initiative, collaborating closely with local companies including Praesidium Global. I am grateful to the minister for his faith in this innovative local defence product, which will help Australia lead the way in robotics and autonomous systems," Wallace said.
"My congratulations to David and the team at Praesidium Global. I look forward to working with them, and with our other Sunshine Coast defence industry businesses to make the most of future opportunities created by the Turnbull government’s unprecedented investment."
Praesidium Global was one of the select few companies chosen to present innovative solutions at the 2016 Army Innovation Day in Canberra.