Defence and Security Accelerator Launches Phase 2 of Telexistence Competition

Funding available to develop a complete telexistence system that will enable those working in hazardous environments to undertake tasks without physically being present.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is part of the UK Government’s Ministry of Defence (MOD). The Accelerator helps public and private innovators develop their ideas into exploitable products and services for defence and security customers, and experiments with novel methodology and innovative approaches to help accelerate the delivery of the best solutions.

DASA has launched a competition on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to develop a complete telexistence system.

Telexistence technology has the potential to give those working in hazardous environments the capability to undertake tasks without being physically present, which can decrease risk and reduce the logistical burden associated with dangerous operations.

Proposals submitted in response to this call will involve the integration of telepresence, robotic and haptic technologies on to a single platform. Solutions must enable the user to experience and interact with the remote environment as if they were physically there.

Funded projects are expected to achieve at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 (proof-of-concept) to TRL 6 (demonstration in a relevant environment) by the end of the contract. Systems currently at or above TRL 6 in a civilian environment may be eligible for funding where the technology requires development to operate in a Defence and Security environment (potentially lowering the TRL).

Successful suppliers will be invited to evaluate the capabilities of their systems against a series of tasks that are representative of a Use Case chosen by each supplier from the following:

  • Specialist Nuclear Decommissioning Tasks.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).
  • Defence and Security Medical applications.

Proposals should include a clear demonstration of how the system capabilities will be developed to be able to complete the pre-determined test battery of tasks.

Submissions are welcome from all organisation types and individuals, with no nationality restrictions. Previous experience of Defence and Security work is not a requirement. Collaborative proposals between organisations are welcome.

It is not compulsory to have been involved in phase 1 to apply; however, applicants should familiarise themselves with the previous competition and details of funded projects.

The total funding available for this competition is £1.3 million. DASA expects to fund three to five proposals with a maximum value of £400,000 per proposal.

Proposals should last no longer than 10 months. The contracts will aim to start at the beginning of July 2022 and complete before the end of April 2023.

Applications should be submitted by the 6 April 2022 (12:00) deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)