Unveiled in March 2019 by the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Project THESEUS builds upon the advancements achieved by the Autonomous 'Last Mile' Challenge, a pioneering initiative spearheaded by DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). 

Under the leadership of the DE&S Future Capabilities Group (FCG) with DSTL’s backing, Project Theseus is dedicated to establishing a comprehensive automated ground and air resupply network. This endeavor hinges on a logistics information system, ensuring uninterrupted service, 24/7, across diverse weather conditions.

Autonomous Systems offer innovative approaches for developing future Land force capability. These systems will be used to undertake a series of technical evaluations and user utility assessments with the British Army and other users to rapidly advance the MOD’s understanding under the ‘Prototype Warfare’ agenda. 


Epitomical’s collaboration and teaming ethos aligns with the proverb - “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” The company works with organisations both large and small and across sectors including Research, Universities, Public Sector, Industry and Start-ups. Epitomical has a track record of working with partner organisations in various models including leading projects, as a project partner (and/or sub-contractor) as well as in an advisory capacity. 

Epitomical was down-selected as a Framework Contracter and partnered with multiple organisations in response to the THESEUS ITT for LOT 1. The project team led by Epitomical brought together diverse experience and skills from both within and outside of the Defence sector, with six out of the seven project team organisations are SMEs.


Epitomical first engaged on Theseus at the release of the Request for Information (RFI) in Autumn 2020. The company posits that a combination of emerging autonomous vehicles (air, ground and sea) will complement existing Defence capability. Although, vehicle technology will continue to advance through technological advancements (e.g. new materials, drives, power) that can be armoured to Defence standards, the major challenge lies in developing high-fidelity and trustworthy autonomous systems that can collaborate (and potentially lead) in Defence operations.

We believe that a larger number of smaller modular vehicles will be complementary and offer greater payload flexibility (e.g. ISR, Logistics, Tactical deployments), reduce points of failure, reduce costs through reuse and in-turn optimise the logistical tail. These will also offer adaptability in forward operations for defence across a variety of of missions ranging from low to high intensity to complement existing vehicles.

Another vital element to consider is that this approach enhances ease of and speed of production in near-peer conflict where logistics and attrition become increasingly vital.  A vehicle comprising a common chassis with several interchangeable common variants will be far easier to produce, repair, and maintain out on in the field. This holds especially true where contemporary conflicts show that large and heavily armoured vehicles struggle in dense urban environments. This could be especially relevant where these vehicles can provide the advantages of modularity, cross-country manoeuvrability for open plains operation, while still being mobile and relatively quiet in the urban environment.

However, challenges still remain for this technology to be ‘Defence-ready’. For example, technology that allows active blast protection would need to be incorporated into the proposed systems so that small vehicles are protected from underbelly blasts in the same way as for an 80-tonne vehicle.

System modularity can be achieved by having a base vehicle (i.e. a ‘Skate’ platform such as the Epitomical Autorover UGV) and changing mission modules for the tasks at hand. For example, Epitomical is currently developing a fully integrated portable container solution that can rapidly change mission modules, significantly reducing the logistical tail that would be required when bringing alternative vehicles into the operational environment.

Ultimately, we aspire to offer quieter, lighter, sustainable and more fuel efficient physical systems in addition to technically complex, yet portable autonomy stacks and systems.

Modular Stack, Multiple Applications

Preliminary Process Schematic