Thales UK has opened its new Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials and Evaluation Centre at Turnchapel Wharf in Plymouth.
The centre will be used to build on Thales’ existing autonomous systems work as it aims to strengthen its position in the UK market.
Thales is hoping the centre can help the company change the way autonomous capability is developed over the next decade by enabling rapid exploration of emergent and disruptive technologies.
The centre will also play an integral part of a joint programme between the UK and French government to develop the next generation of autonomous mine hunting systems.
Thales has invested £1m into the facility and has committed to a five-year plan to develop autonomous systems at the site, a move which has created 20 new high-skilled jobs.
On the opening, defence minister Stuart Andrew, said: “Our Armed Forces must remain a step ahead of our adversaries, something we can only do by collaborating with our leading British defence industry. Thales’ new Maritime Autonomy Centre is another great example of the work being done by our suppliers to ensure our military remains equipped with state-of-the-art capabilities.
He added: “This centre of excellence will enable industry and academia to experiment and innovate together to help counter emerging sea-based threats and ensure we remain one of the world’s leading militaries.”