Drones and robots trialled for chemical detection use

Trials of drones weighing less than a bar of soap and robots that can climb stairs have taken place at Gloucestershire Fire Service College, as part of MoD and Home Office backed Project Minerva.

The project aims to reduce the risk to emergency services and front-line troops attending incidents or operations involving hazardous chemical or biological materials. The recent trial tested concept drones and robots in simulated contaminated scenarios in both UK homeland and battlefield environments and compared their speed and accuracy against that of human response teams supported by specialist Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) scientists, the military, police and fire services.

DSTL leads the project, which is funded jointly by the Ministry of Defence science and technology portfolio and the Home Office and contracted through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) with funding from Defence Science and Technology (DST). Project Minerva has received more than £3 million in joint funding over two years, and aims to bring designs from concept to reality in an accelerated timeframe. The trails involved the winning concepts for phase two of the project. The winners received a total of just over £1.6 million in total funding and were as follows:

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