Three cutting-edge innovations at the service of our armies


37.5 billion euros is the amount of the Ministry of the Armed Forces budget for the year 2020. On the ground, the French army continually needs to innovate to guarantee the efficiency of military operations while ensuring front-line security. This is how the military institution does not hesitate to finance French companies to develop technological solutions for the benefit of the armed forces or even for civilian use. A dog equipped with a camera system, a boat with a wing to “fly” above the water, or even a robot to extinguish the most ardent fires on its own, Europe 1 presents you in “France move “, three innovations that will change the daily life of our troops in the field.

K9 vision system, a dog camera system

A dog with a mask and a state-of-the-art camera system? This is the concept imagined and designed by Thomas Schuppe, former dog handler at GIGN in partnership with Morin, a company specializing in dog products. The dog present on the ground is equipped, first of all, with a tinted protective mask to protect his eyes from UV rays. A front and rear camera, microphones, speakers as well as lights to help its progress have also been installed. So many technologies that maintain permanent contact between humans and dogs. Clearly, this system makes it possible to see what the dogs see in real time and to give them, consequently, orders when they are out of sight in order to maximize the operational capacities of the troops on the spot.

For Thomas Schuppe, founder of the concept, this cutting-edge system radically changes the situation on the ground. The action of the French troops is thus all the more effective thanks to this canine support: “Generally, the dog is sent to the front line by its olfactory qualities. The problem is that one can easily lose the dog. visual animal. Thanks to this system, the dog has now become an essential element in the field, it helps us for its recognition and image capture qualities and not only for its olfactory qualities.

Moreover, the dog’s field of action is wide: search for a suspicious vehicle, trace a dangerous individual or even search for explosive material. And the system has proven its worth in the field, assures Thomas Schuppe: French special units, foreign units, traditional forces, public road units such as the police or the gendarmerie, all are asking for it. However, you have to pay a price because this dog camera system costs 30,000 euros.

No need, therefore, to be a seasoned dog handler to guide the animal in the field. “This system has given us new perspectives, as dog handlers, because we will use our animal more easily. But also for our team leaders who are not dog handlers. Before we only looked with their nose, now it’s also visual “, rejoices the designer of the project at the microphone of Europe 1.

And this high-tech mask is not an obstacle to the well-being of the animal, assures the designer: “Indeed, it is not natural. But in the worst case, it takes a week to accept this system. . Namely that the system does not interfere with mobility. He quickly understands that he can drink, eat, play, bite. He can continue his actions without problem “.

Seair, the motor boat for “flying” over water.

What if our soldiers could “fly” over water? In any case, this is what the Seair company offers. Richard Forest, founding president of the concept, invented motor boats fitted with an underwater wing which, with the effect of speed, will allow it to be raised and to attenuate shocks. Capable of transporting at least eight soldiers in intervention for two to three hours, this improved boat will reduce the fatigue of men very often abused when the machine is pushed at high speed on the water. “The problem is that they usually get shaken like plum trees on the water. On a zodiac they cannot do this job for more than 10 years because of the trauma of the soldier given the speed at which they are going 30/40 knots. Our technology works like a shock absorber, “explains Richard Forest on Europe1.

The shocks are therefore less frequent: on a sea level two, that is to say with 60 cm of waves, the shocks are reduced by 70%, on one meter of waves, they are reduced to 50% and finally on 1.50, the shocks are reduced by 30%. Simplicity is also the key word of this project since it is not necessary to hold a specific boat license. Since the wings are retractable, it only takes a button to make them disappear.

And it is thanks to a happy coincidence that this project was able to see the light of day: “A year and a half ago, the special forces of Lorient saw the demonstration on the water of our boats while we were testing . They were astonished and surprised. We put them on board and give them the steering wheel to be tested. For 18 months, twenty special forces pilots tested the boat. At the same time, the staff of the army had identified us as an interesting innovation, that’s where it all started, “says Richard Forest, the founding president, smiling.

Even if the competition in the sector is tough, Richard Forest says he is confident. Its concept is “a version 2.0 compared to previous innovations”, he says.

Colossus, the robot who saved Notre de Dame

Collosus, doesn’t that name ring a bell? However, it is a real star in the military sector and it is the best friend of the firefighters since its creation in 2017. It is this robot which had made it possible to lower the temperature inside the nave of Notre-Dame, caught in the flames in April 2019. And its effectiveness was confirmed during this high-risk operation. “It was deployed during the fire from the moment the risk was too great. The general decided to evacuate the men to send the Colossus robot which served almost eight hours in an ambient temperature of over 800 -900 degrees. The robot made it possible to extinguish the fire inside the cathedral “, tells Europe 1 Cyril Kabbara, director of Shark Robotics, the company behind the concept.

In addition to proving its worth in the face of the flames of Notre-Dame, this 180 kg robot is also used for quite varied missions: transporting equipment, evacuating wounded or taking information readings. Indeed, it is adorned with the latest technologies: a stretcher holder to carry the wounded, a ram to push a burning vehicle, and a wide range of electronic equipment. For the designer of the robot, Colossus, who has become the right arm of the firefighters, provides non-negligible support to our forces: “The firefighters send the robot but it is always the man who is in the decision-making loop and who will know how to intervene. The robot is never the stretching of the hand of the firefighter. And that’s how he will be able to enter an establishment that risks collapsing, “says Cyril Kabbara.

And with the coronavirus crisis, Shark Robotics has even gone further. A decontamination robot, equivalent to Colossus, was made available during this period to disinfect large surfaces more efficiently and quickly. This robot thus makes it possible to decontaminate in three hours, by micro-spraying process, large surfaces of up to 20,000 m².

All these state-of-the-art robots are designed, manufactured and assembled in La Rochelle, a way “to respond as quickly as possible to the specific demand of customers, whether they are the armed forces or companies”, concludes the designer.

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