The European Defence Fund’s CONVOY project, led by GMV, gets underway

Multinational technology company GMV has kicked off the CONVOY (ClOud iNtelligent explosiVe detectiOn sYstem) project, an initiative selected for funding by the European Union with an estimated budget of €4,986,989.50. CONVOY is one of the projects selected by the European Defence Fund (EDF) as part of the EDF 2022 call for proposals within the first Technological Challenge launched by the European Commission in the field of detection of improvised explosive devices. 

Given the current defense context in Europe, ground forces need solutions to face technically advanced threats, such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines, which are some of the main causes of casualties among defence forces. Neutralizing these hidden threats is key to protecting soldiers and improving their operational efficiency.

Tasks that often fall to military forces, such as route clearance, are challenging, and existing technology does not offer a solution with the detection confidence needed to ensure that soldiers are protected under typical mission conditions. Given the importance of the fight against IEDs and landmines in the current geopolitical context, the CONVOY project is expected to have a major impact.

CONVOY is being coordinated by GMV, with the participation of nine other leading companies and organizations from five European countries: Aalborg Universitet (Denmark), Airbus Defense and Space (Germany), Applied Intelligence Analytics (Ireland), Eviden (Germany), Aurea Avionics (Spain), Ecole Royale Militaire - Koninklijke Militaire School (Belgium), Fraunhofer-Gessellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung (Germany), Numalis (France) and XenomatiX (Belgium). This strategic collaboration brings together experience and expertise in several areas, thus strengthening the project’s ability to address the complex challenges associated with explosive threat detection. The consortium is committed to furthering safety and security in critical environments.

The meeting between the consortium members and the European Commission kicks off the joint work to develop a system that will bring together several cutting-edge technologies and strengthen detection and response capabilities in relation to possible hidden threats, such as IEDs and landmines, by deploying intelligent robots, drones, and a wide range of detection technologies, through innovative application of artificial intelligence and cloud technology.

The main goal of the CONVOY project is to explore the potential of artificial intelligence to detect, recognize, and avoid/neutralize hidden threats. Cloud infrastructure will be the foundation for sensor learning, allowing for continuous and efficient adaptation to the evolving threat posed by explosive device attacks.

Within the framework of the EU Technological Challenge, CONVOY will be participating in four campaigns designed in an operational environment. These campaigns will allow for systems to be assessed and drive the evolution of systems between each campaign.

Once again, GMV is cementing its place as a key European partner for defence projects. The company is a partner in six projects selected for funding through the EDF 2022 call for proposals ―acting in CONVOY with the coordinator role― with a total of €203 million, 21% of the budget for the 2022 projects. The defence and security industry has become a major growth vector for GMV in terms of revenue and recruitment. Over the last five years, the company has expanded its workforce by 50% and currently has over 3,000 employees. This number is expected to increase thanks to these new projects.

“Participating in European Union projects within the framework of the European Defence Funds is one of GMV’s strategic lines of action in the security and defence field in order to continue with its internationalization and reinforcement of strategic areas, providing added value that has proven essential in winning bids,” says José Prieto, Director of Business Development and Institutional Affairs of GMV´s Defense and Security sector.

CONVOY project details

CONVOY (ClOud iNtelligent explosiVe detectiOn sYstem) features a multi-sensor, multi-platform approach: it will combine eight different sensor technologies (GPR, metal detector, UGV autonomy sensors, THz sensor, LIDAR, IR laser sensor, quantum magnet, EO/IR camera), deployed in a network of various platforms on the battlefield, including two unmanned aerial systems, one medium-sized and five small unmanned ground systems, and one manned ground vehicle. 

It will also integrate all the information gathered by this sensory network, using artificial intelligence to carry out the information fusion. Artificial intelligence will also be used for mission planning and platform tasking.

CONVOY will carry out the integration with Command and Control Systems: both the Battle Management System (BMS) for the squadron and the Dismounted Soldier System (DSS).

As for the tactical cloud, the best environment to facilitate the integration of different components, subsystems, and elements is the CONVOY Tactical Cloud, which will provide a space for services distributed across the federated platforms.

Finally, the open architecture and adherence to standards proposed as a design principle guarantees interoperability, ensuring modularity of components (sensors, platforms, AI components, etc.) and support for scalability of the solution as a whole. 

With the support of the European Union and the multidisciplinary expertise of the participants, the CONVOY project is a milestone in technological innovation for the security field, leading the way towards more effective and adaptive solutions for detecting explosive threats in the 21st century.

This project has received funding from the European Defence Fund under grant agreement EDF-2022-LS-RA-CHALLENGE-CONVOY:101121250.
This press release reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the European Commission.

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