The French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) has awarded Safran Electronics & Defense a new optional tranche contract for FURIOUS (FUturs systèmes Robotiques Innovants en tant qu’OUtilS), a science and technology program that aims to develop innovative robotic systems for mounted and dismounted warfighters.
This follows successful field trials of the FURIOUS robotic system, carried out by Safran in late 2021 at the French Army’s urban combat training center (Sissone military base) – a key advance culminating the firm contract phase.
During this phase participants focused on the modular architecture concept (hardware and software), designed to ensure the autonomous operation of any terrestrial platform, whether crewed or not. Safran Electronics & Defense was able to deploy this architecture on three different types of platforms included in the FURIOUS system. The optional tranche aims to optimize this architecture and make the autonomous functions developed more robust (tracking passage points, replaying trajectories, monitoring the leader, autonomous target homing, etc.) within more complex and unstable environments.
Safran Electronics & Defense builds on its skills and expertise to ensure the autonomy of both land and airborne platforms: automated planning and control, navigation and geolocation, 3D environment perception based on semantic segmentation, artificial intelligence-based processing and critical embedded software.
Critical building blocks for future programs could be developed in the short term, based on the operational advantages of autonomous functions in a number of scenarios, the applicability of a judicious incremental approach and a clear convergence towards adaptable modular solutions.
From this viewpoint, the launch of the planned Vulcain robotics unit by the French Army, designed to officialize the Army’s robotics needs by 2030, is a clear sign for the players involved of the viability of this approach.