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General Dynamics Contracted for PoBo Floating Bridge System

Working Example of Military-Civil Diversification

General Dynamics European Land Systems-Bridge Systems (GDELS-Bridge Systems) has been contracted to develop a multifunctional, modular floating platform known as Pontoon Boat, or PoBo, the company announced on 17 January.

The project was awarded under the Innovation Programme for the Support of Diversification Strategies of Defence Companies in Civil Security Technologies (DIVERS), a programme launched by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWI), with VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH as the responsible project executing agency.

The PoBo is a modularly configurable floating device [….] It can be used to assemble heavy-duty transport, working, diving and recovery platforms or bridges,” commented GDELS-Bridge Systems’ head of civil activities, Sascha Wahlster. “By means of specially-developed propulsion systems and supported by drone-based underwater sensors, safe, semi-autonomous driving in flooded and unmapped areas will be made possible.”

PoBo will be developed to be ergonomically friendly, and will have a mobile virtual reality system to conduct fast and cost-effective training.

Essential for the success of our application was the integration not only of existing longstanding cooperation partners such as the Entwicklungszentrum für Schiffstechnik und Transportsysteme e.V. (Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems, DST) in Duisburg and the Bremen-based company szenaris, specialised in learning programmes and simulations for digital learning,” explained GDELS-Bridge Systems Managing Director, Christian Kauth. “Through our collaboration in the Science and Innovation Alliance Kaiserslautern (SIAK) and the Commercial Vehicle Cluster (CVC), many new cooperation approaches have emerged [….] “Consequently, the integration of the Institute for Robotic Systems at Kaiserslautern University of Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) into the project developed [….] The decisive factor, however, was that we were able to win the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) in close cooperation with national fire brigades and police authorities as project partners, as this is the only way to successfully develop a system that optimally supports relief, rescue and security forces in their challenging tasks worldwide.”

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