New research funding for tech to take humans out of harm’s way


The government’s Defence and Security Acceleration (DASA) has awarded £800,000 to 11 projects to fast-track development of technology that will physically remove humans from dangerous situations.

The technology, called telexistence, enables a human to interact with a remote environment – either real or virtual, or a combination of both.

One of the projects is being run by Createc, headquartered in Cumbria, but with an office at the Oxford Centre for Innovation. Createc is developing new applications of imaging technology. Another project is to be run by Veolia Nuclear Solutions, based at Harwell Campus.

Nine organisations, including Createc and Veolia, are undertaking eleven different projects will share the funding through the DASA Telexistence Themed Competition, run on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Ultimately, this capability will allow a human operator to perform complex tasks and operate equipment from a safe distance.

Rob Baldock, Dstl Programme Manager for Emerging Technology, said: “This is the culmination of several years of developing the concept of telexistence inside Dstl from the idea of combining different areas of emerging science into the concept of projecting human presence into a remote environment and immersive feedback for the operator.

“This has huge potential to make many highly dangerous military operations and other hazardous civil operations much safer for our front line operators and save lives in the future.”

Funded companies include: Veolia Nuclear Solutions, Cyberselves Universal Ltd, Digital Kinematics Ltd, Createc, L3Harris Technologies, Holoxica Limited, University of Leeds, TNO and Sheffield Hallam University.