The Directorate of Defense R&D (DDR&D) in the Ministry of Defense together with the US Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) and the Merage Institute, will hold a first-of-its-kind competition – the Mobile Standoff Autonomous Indoor Capabilities Challenge in short: the “MoSAIC”. The competition will incorporate operating commercial robots and drones in an urban setting, in the city of Yeruham, simulating the challenges on the future battlefield.

20 of the most innovative startup companies in robotics and indoor drones are expected to participate in the competition that will take place over three days in Yeruham between April 4-6, 2022. Each group’s drones and robots will be required to complete an obstacle course where they will face several obstacles such as doors, rubble, curtains, etc. The event will test the abilities of companies from all over the world to complete navigation challenges, structure mapping, human and object tagging, human through-wall detection, maximizing autonomous movement in urban settings, and dealing with physical obstacles in urban areas including stair climbing and more.

The competition’s winners will receive funding for further product development, gain access to American and Israeli government officials, and will be accepted into the prestigious startup program taking place in California, offered by the Merge Institute.

The international competition is promoted by the R&D (Research and Development) Division at the DDR&D, as part of the search for state-of-the-art technologies to operate robotic and autonomous technologies within buildings that simulate a future battlefield.

The new testing site for autonomous and unmanned systems was established in Yeruham in 2021. The site provides a wide-open area and large enclosures designed to support a safe environment for testing autonomous vehicles. The center supports the development and experimentation of innovative defense and commercial drone activities. The center supports the large community of drone developers in Israel, counting more than 150 drone companies. About 60 of these companies also work with DDR&D.