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Defence Industry and Space
News article19 December 20223 min read

EDIDP: The iMUGS Consortium demonstrates autonomous missions with robotic systems

The projects of the European Defence Industrial Development  Programme (EDIDP) continue to deliver important results. A recent demonstration event of the iMUGS project is a case in point.

Photographer: Adrien Daste
iMUGS Consortium

iMUGS, one of the earliest EU funded defence development projects supported by EDIDP

iMugs was launched in 2020 after the consortium was selected in the European Commission’s EDIDP competitive calls for proposals to develop unmanned systems (read the factsheet). As such, it stands to be one of the earliest supported  European defence development projects. It has received an EU funding contribution of over  30 million euro which amounts to around 93% of the total project costs.

This consortium also exemplifies the added value and synergies attainable through industrial civil-defence collaboration by uniting 13 entities from 7 Member States (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, France, Spain, Belgium).

Understanding the demonstration results, a milestone for autonomous ground missions

The integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) project consortium showcased the usage of autonomous unmanned ground systems for various defence missions, including intelligence gathering, casualty evacuation and last mile re-supply at the project’s penultimate demonstration in Versailles, France. The event was led by Safran and Nexter and supported by other consortium members.

All the partners met on the premises of Nexter Robotics, made available during the weeks of integration and validation preceding the demonstration.

Video by Nexter

During the demonstration, three Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGVs equipped with payloads from the consortium members and cooperation partners fulfilled several autonomous missions to demonstrate the ability of the complete iMUGS system. These included autonomous mission planning from the operator’s point of view, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) with object detection and recognition, autonomous re-supply and casualty evacuation and cyber threat response.

The missions, performed by the French armed forces, presented how manned units can utilise unmanned systems to conduct missions more safely and effectively. “Unmanned systems increase stand-off distance from the enemy and, thanks to various sensors and effectors, provide soldiers the means to gather a higher quantity and much more precise information about their operation area than humans are capable of,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics, the iMUGS consortium lead.

“Autonomous unmanned assets are a game changer for armed forces as they allow the allocation of soldiers to more important tasks,” Väärsi added.

The UGV’s autonomous functionality that includes follow-me, waypoint navigation and obstacle detection and avoidance capabilities was developed by consortium members Diehl Defence, Milrem Robotics, Nexter and Safran. ISR was provided by OTEOS, Escribano Mechanical & Engineering’s Electro Optic System, SAAB Grintek’s Laser Warning System (LWS) and Metravib Defence’s PEARL acoustic shot detection. Radio communication was provided by Bittium’s software defined radios.

The command and control (C2) and tactical C2ISR by GMV and were setup in the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s Boxer Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) with a C2 mission module and a static command centre. Cyber threat response was provided by Talgen. dotOcean and Insta showcased, via video, global and local swarming capabilities, respectively, in their in-house simulator.

The demonstration organised in France was the fifth demonstration held during the iMUGS project. The previous demonstrations were held in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and Belgium. 

imugs demo

Images by Adrien Daste.

About the iMUGS project

iMUGS is a 32,6 MEUR project, a 13-party collaboration focused on developing a modular and scalable architecture for hybrid manned-unmanned systems. The parties involved are Milrem Robotics (project coordinator), Bittium, Diehl Defence, dotOcean, GMV Aerospace and Defence, Insta Advance, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), NEXTER Systems, the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, Safran Electronics & Defense, Talgen Cybersecurity, and

The aim of the project is to standardise a European-wide ecosystem for aerial and ground platforms, command, control, and communication equipment, sensors, payloads, and algorithms. The project addresses challenges such as enhanced interoperability, increased situational awareness, and faster decision-making.


Publication date
19 December 2022