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NATO Innovation Challenge: Five Lithuanian Companies in the Final

NATO Innovation Challenge: Five Lithuanian Companies in the Final

The finalists for the 14th NATO Innovation Challenge have been announced, with companies from around the globe invited to develop remote mine detection and neutralisation technologies. For the first time, Lithuania has made its mark among the countries offering the best solutions, with an impressive five Lithuanian companies making it to the final 11.

The final will take place on 12 June in Vilnius, where international defence sector experts will evaluate the projects of the selected companies. The event is organised by NATO in collaboration with the Innovation Agency, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, and the Ministry of National Defence.

“We have demonstrated Lithuania’s strong expertise in the field of innovation on an international level and our ability to compete with defence giants such as the United States. Nearly a quarter of the more than 50 companies that submitted applications for the challenge were from our country, and most importantly, almost half of the finalists are from Lithuania. I have no doubt that we have significant potential to become the winners of this challenge,” said Minister of Economy and Innovation, Aušrinė Armonaitė.

The Lithuanian finalists include AAI Labs, AGAI DRM, Broswarm, Eagle AI4D, and Unmanned Dynamics. Other finalists are AAEG and Ethicronics from France, RAS Lab from Belgium, Varuna from Latvia, and UXOXO and Virginia Uncrewed Systems from the United States.

Proposals were also submitted by representatives from Belgium, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Canada, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Finland.

“The companies that have made it to the final are innovation leaders, utilising the most advanced technologies and methods, from artificial intelligence to drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, and virtual reality. Each finalist will have 30 minutes to present their solutions to the panel. The panel will evaluate the innovations based on their effectiveness, safety, novelty, and integration,” shared Sigutė Stankevičiūtė, Head of the ManuFuture Lab Division at the Innovation Agency.

According to her, innovative remote reconnaissance and explosive material contaminated area neutralisation solutions can ensure safe movement for civilians and military units, which is particularly crucial in war-torn Ukraine.

“In developing these technologies, companies had to prioritise safety features – it is vital to avoid accidental detonations or environmental damage. The solutions also had to be compatible with existing military and humanitarian systems. Beyond the innovation to identify mined areas, this challenge also aims to find a solution that processes intelligence data collected during reconnaissance and presents it in a user-friendly manner. We are pleased that Lithuanian companies have successfully met these requirements,” said Stankevičiūtė.

The authors of the best proposals will be awarded cash prizes, and one of the eleven final proposals is planned to be further developed and implemented by NATO.

Based on a press release by Innovation Agency of Lithuania