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Video | Military turns to drones to map obstacles

Autonomous drones and robots could be the answer to the UK Armed Forces’ challenge when faced with a body of water to cross.

The Map the Gap competition, run by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), aims to find new ways to help the military cross a body of water, or ‘wet gap’, safely and covertly while increasing the tempo of operations.

There have been two funding rounds and testing took place earlier this year.

The prototypes are expected to retrieve vital information such as the depth and flow of the water, the distance between both banks and their respective heights, and the ground-bearing capacity of the nearby land.

Dstl senior principal analyst, Nicole Beaves, said: “The scientific and technological knowledge we provide gives commanders more options and our military a critical advantage. This competition has brought together some of the top minds in industry and led to a diverse range of cutting-edge solutions. These impressive prototypes show incredible creativity and innovation combined with top-level technical expertise.”

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