Robot Round-up: Advanced Robotics Platforms and Solutions - Department of National Defence - 2022


Government of Canada - Department of National Defence


Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)

For More Information

Please see the Robot Round-up: Advanced Robotics Platforms and Solutions website.


As part of Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy, the Department of National Defence (DND) has launched the IDEaS Program. The IDEaS program will be investing $1.6 billion in innovations for defence and security over the next 20 years. The IDEaS program is designed to improve DND’s access to the creative potential of Canadian innovators. They use knowledge and concepts to enhance defence capability, create an economic impact, and ultimately, to build an innovation ecosystem for national defence. From the early stages of an idea to the final testing in a real world environment, IDEaS mobilizes Canadian innovators through defence and security challenges and collaborates to best adapt, shape and maximize the potential of the technology.

For this Contest, innovators will need to submit a Proposal Package. Each application will be carefully screened by DND and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) experts and successful applicants will be invited to an on-site competition to test their solutions for a chance to win cash prizes and an opportunity to further develop their technology with the CAF.

Challenge statement

The intent of this Contest is to allow innovators to demonstrate to DND/CAF how advancements in robotic platforms and methods of control can be leveraged to help CAF members accomplish high risk tasks.


There are many specialized tasks that are routinely performed by personnel of the CAF both domestically and abroad. These tasks include detection, identification, and mitigation of agents of concern. Stand-off technologies and fixed sensor arrays are techniques that could provide information, but operators may still be required to be in direct contact with hazardous substances, while in various states of protected equipment dress, and in environments that could be hostile. Robotic systems that could operate handheld advanced sensing devices, are highly mobile, able to manipulate the environment, and reduce operator involvement could alter the need to commit military personnel into potentially hazardous situations.


Current field robotic systems in this domain, as well as system of robotic systems, exist with limitations that place the burden on the operator. These robotic systems have capability to move in unstructured terrain both with direct control, as well as with general control, and can be configured with wheels, tracks, articulations, and combinations. Current systems also have advanced manipulation and force feedback to the operator. The robots are equipped with 3D modeling and mapping of the location of the agents of concern. Further, some robotic systems have advanced autonomous functions that have the ability to significantly reduce operator involvement.

DND/CAF are hosting this Contest to observe advancements from the current state of the art in robotics. These could include advancements in mobility, manipulation, sensing, localization of threats, advanced modeling, information synthesis, or by using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), supervised autonomy, techniques to reduce the operator involvement in the task.

Desired Outcomes

This Contest is designed to challenge robotics systems in scenarios that reflect the tasks operators could encounter, and these tasks will include both discrete challenges as well as challenges that build to a larger capability.

There are two desired outcomes for this Contest:

  1. Innovators are expected to showcase technological advancements in both discretized and multi-level challenges to accomplish the tasks in the on-site challenge. These methods of control in this category could be more aligned to traditional systems where an operator is fully involved in the outcome of the challenge and demonstrated in the video submission.
  2. In the second category, the focus will be on how little the operator is involved in the challenge. Special considerations for time, precision, and level of success will be provided for systems that have little to no involvement from external sources. Additional considerations could also be provided for how much information has to be preloaded or configured for an individual challenge.


Eligible recipients for funding under the IDEaS Contests Program must be a legal entity duly incorporated and validly existing in Canada, including:

  • Canadian universities and educational institutions chartered in Canada;
  • Incorporated Canadian not-for-profit organizations or associations;
  • Incorporated Canadian for-profit companies, organizations or associations; and,
  • Provincial/territorial, or municipal government organizations.

Federal and provincial crown corporations are not eligible for funding.

Funding Availability

Funding is twofold for this Contest:

  1. The on-site competition will declare two winners to each receive a $25,000 cash prize in the form of a Grant.
  2. The two winners will each have the opportunity to further develop their technology through a Contribution Agreement up to $1.5 million dollars.

DND reserves the right to not accept proposals or to reduce the amount of the available funding at its entire discretion.

Indirect Costs

Overhead cannot exceed 15% of the total eligible costs. 


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please submit the proposal package and signed OR-5 form to

External Deadline

Proposal package must be submitted directly to the IDEaS Contests Program through the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) Connect Service. The video is to be submitted to the Sponsor's Drop Box location (see how to apply instructions). 

How to Apply

All applicants must submit a Proposal Package in order to be eligible for the Robot Round-up contest. The Proposal Package must include the Applicant Form and the video submission.

DND will assess the Proposal Packages to determine whether they can move forward to the on-site competition and be considered for funding.

  • ineligible solutions will be screened out and applicants will receive a written email response; or,
  • eligible solutions will receive a written email invitation to compete on-site, as well as an on-site instruction manual.

Part 1: Submitting the video

Applicants are required to submit their video using the submission steps below:

  1. Review Annex A – Video instructions.
  2. Create the recording.
  3. Save the video in MP4 format.
  4. Provide the MP4 video to the Drop Box location by the submission deadline.
  5. Applicants will receive confirmation of the video submission by email.

Part 2: Submitting the Applicant Form

The Applicant Form must be submitted directly to the IDEaS Contests Program through the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) Connect service.

Step 1: Create a Connect account

If the Applicant has an existing Connect account please proceed to Step 2.

To register for an account please contact the CPC Connect service, click on Login to Connect, then select Register now, and complete your Personal Canada Post Profile.

Step 2: Request a Connect conversation and submission.

Applicants must send an email requesting a Connect conversation to and provide the email address associated with the Connect service, at least five business days prior to the submission deadline. The IDEaS Contests Program will initiate the Connect conversation.

The Applicant will then be able to submit the Proposal Package at any time prior to the submission deadline.

The Applicant will receive a confirmation from the IDEaS Contests Program within 1 – 2 business days of receipt.

All Connect conversations must remain open until at least 30 business days after the submission deadline.

For Questions, please contact

Inquiries about the Contest can be sent to:

Office of Research

Devon Staaf, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Office of Research Services

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