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Nexter and SERA Ingéniérie Join Forces on Robotics

SERA Ingéniérie PHOBOS robotic vehicle with VBMR-L SERVAL behind [© Nexter]

Nexter and SERA Ingéniérie, a SOGECLAIR subsidiary, have joined forces to form the French champion of military robotics.

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Press Release, Versailles, April 2023*: Nexter and SOGECLAIR, through its subsidiary SERA Ingénierie, have signed a partnership agreement to jointly develop land robots for the French Army. These two major players in French military robotics are combining their complementary know-how: Nexter, leading land defence company in France and Europe, is contributing its recognised skills in architecture, system integration and robotic systems, while SERA Ingénierie (SOGECLAIR), specialised in the design and manufacturing of special vehicles and mission systems, will contribute its recognised expertise in the fields of mechanical design and production of defence and security platforms, civil and simulation applications. This partnership aims to offer sovereign and state-of-the-art military robotics solutions.

Leader in the field of counter-mining, simulation and dynamic behaviour of vehicles, SERA Ingénierie (SOGECLAIR) provides its expertise in land mobility with its new PHOBOS platform. Resulting from10 years of investment, PHOBOS is designed around three strategic axes: mobility, autonomy and modular architecture. This multi-purpose robotic carrier of less than two tons net weight, and with one-ton payload has been designed to accommodate all types of mission kits (tools, sensors, effectors). Its four independent wheels with reinforced suspension allow it to follow easily at high speed the tracks of armoured vehicles on any type of terrain. In addition, its thermal engine and its large fuel tank ensure the electrical and hydraulic supply of all embedded equipment. The PHOBOS will also be available in a hybrid or electric version.

As a reference industrial prime contractor, Nexter brings its knowledge of the operational environment and its constraints (such as operating safety or cyber protection), as well as its know-how in manned and unmanned systems architecture. In the field of robotics, Nexter is developing an autonomous mobility kit combining assisted remote operation with autonomous capabilities that can be used in hostile environments (personnel tracking, route tracking, convoy tracking, rallying to a point of interest, etc.), thanks to major investments made over the past 10 years. The human-robot relationship is particularly explored in order to have an optimised human-robot system where the contribution of each entity is adjusted as well as possible and in real time, whatever the tactical situation.

One of the first joint projects concerns the design of an investigation robot aimed at meeting the needs of engineering units. For this purpose, the PHOBOS platform is distinguished by its adaptation to the operational needs of this device by combining mobility, ergonomics and a small logistic footprint. For example, PHOBOS can easily be towed by all-terrain vehicles over long distances or even airborne. Thanks to its advanced robotic architecture, this robot will carry out dangerous missions such as counter-mining while ensuring the safety of its operators.

Sylvain Rousseau, Director of Nexter’s Systems activity, is delighted with this partnership: “The partnership between Nexter and SERA Ingénierie (SOGECLAIR) reflects the will to unite the key players of the French robotics in order to create the new land robot solutions”.

Olivier Pedron, President of SERA Ingénierie (SOGECLAIR) and Chief Operating Officer of SOGECLAIR, adds “this partnership aims to provide solutions with a small logistical footprint, robust, sober, proven and reliable”.

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*Editor’s footnote: Our apologies for the late publication of this release, which temporarily vanished in the ether.

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