BAE, the global leader in the development and support of advanced defence, security and aerospace, has been awarded a $43 million cooperative agreement extension to lead the Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance for a further five years.
BAE will now play a significant role as it works with the MAST Alliance team of researchers, drawn from the U.S. Army, academia and industry, striving to advance bio-inspired micro-robotics technology to extend the remote sensing capability of U.S. ground forces.
Used by individual soldiers, the small robotic platforms will hope to perform covert surveillance within tight urban environments and terrain, a task which would otherwise prove dangerous or difficult for a human to accomplish.
The five-year contract extension given to BAE Systems is for Phase 2 of MAST program which will continue the research, development and integration of a number of key areas, including micro-scale aeromechanics and ambulation, propulsion, sensing, autonomy, communications, navigations and control and microscale integration, among several others; all hoping to create several different mission-capable robotic platforms.
ARL MAST Consortium Manager, Dr Brett Piekarski added: “Our recent review by the MAST Research Management Board received high marks for the quality and success of the research conducted over the past five years contributing greatly to the decision to award the five year option to extend the program.”
BAE Systems, in cooperation with primary research labs from the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, will lead the effort for the ARL into 2017.