The two winners of the first contest have been selected: AITEX, a Spanish research and innovation centre specialising in textiles, and Clover Technologies, a Spanish company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications.

Both were awarded the 2018 EDA Defence Innovation Prize for ideas put forward in two specific sectors: 

Autonomous detection, identification and monitoring through sensor and platform networking in the field of CBRN protection technologies

We asked AITEX Project Manager José Manuel Ramos Fernandez to explain the idea in more detail: “We envisage that the soldier of the future will be equipped with a ‘wearable computing’ system composed of many electronic devices fully integrated into textile solutions, which will be of paramount importance in order to reduce the equipment weight and increase the soldiers’ operability. Sensors able to monitor environmental and personal parameters will be key components of that. We therefore propose the development of a new family of sensors to identify and quantify a wide range of chemical warfare agents (CWA). Our idea is to produce Electronic Noses (ENs) integrated into textiles based on an array of sensors composed of Graphene Oxide (GO). They will be capable of identifying and quantifying a wide range of chemical warfare agents. The complete system will be printed on a textile substrate producing a fully wearable system which has significant advantages compared to traditional rigid and semi-portable ENs. Moreover, the graphene-based electronic noses integrated in textiles can also be used on a variety of platforms, in all types of infrastructure and more generally, everywhere where textiles are present. The implementation of this idea needs the involvement of a multidisciplinary team since the required developments touch upon different technologies: materials, electronics, software etc. Moreover, the end users’ engagement - i.e. that of Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces - in the development process is crucial to ensure the system complies with their requirements because, at the end of the day, what counts is that it is useful and enhances EU defence capabilities. We believe that a multidisciplinary approach coupled with the end users’ guidance would allow the idea to be developed through a collaborative effort that needs the involvement of multiple Member States. Participating in the EDA Defence Innovation Prize contest has given us the opportunity to both promote a civil innovation in the defence realm and stress the necessity of collaborative research programmes to tackle complex developments using a multidisciplinary approach”.


AITEX, based in Alcoy, is a leading Spanish centre of research, innovation and advanced technical services for the textile sector. AITEX is a private non-profit association set up in 1985 as an initiative of the Valencian Regional Government, through the Valencian Institute for Small and Medium Industry (IMPIVA), to make the textile sector more competitive. AITEX’s key activity domains include smart textiles, nanotechnology, materials and sustainability and biotechnology.

Integration of multi-robot swarming concepts in support of future defence capabilities in the field of Guidance, Navigation and Control

The winning idea is explained by Clover Technologies Project Manager Fidel Paniagua Diez

“Swarm robotics is an emerging technology present in the Future Operational Environment of almost every European nation. However, before it can be implemented in real scenarios, the challenges still pending related to swarm robotics – i.e. computational and storage limitations, heterogeneous communication protocols, information security, etc. – must be solved.

Our project aims to provide a solution to some of these challenges with a blockchain-based platform. The designed solution includes additional layers of security that provide integrity, confidentiality and authentication.Moreover, it supports the automatic implementation of several steps and improves swarm command and control traceability.

More precisely, our proposed solution has three main elements. First, a blockchain platform which allows a secure coordination of a swarm robotic. Second, a so-called Group Key Distribution Algorithm which securely allows the management of the joining & leaving operations within a swarm robotic. And third, a Java Card technology which offers a tamper resistant solution for storage and management of the sensitive information in a robot.

As previously stated, our main goal is to offer a common platform for the secure coordination and exchange of information between the nodes which are part of a swarm robotic. Therefore, robot manufacturers in the defence industry will need access to this platform. Consequently, we are going to work on an application programming interface (API) which will allow the manufacturers to use its capabilities in a simple way. Furthermore, new services such as charger points, weather information, waypoints and so on, will be added to the platform and made available to the robots in order to facilitate swarm coordination.

Finally, let me stress that in order to develop this platform, we will need the collaboration of Ministries of Defence, Armed Forces and industry. Hence, this award is really important for us because we are sure that it will provide us with new contacts that will help us to achieve a more powerful and rich solution.” 


Clover Technologies, based in Leganès/ Madrid, is an industrial company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications. It is also active in other domains such as IT solutions and information security management, ITSEC and Common Criteria consulting and evaluation and Blockchain consulting and development, security assessment and conformance analysis of security standards and protocols, design and development of UAV security solutions, as well as professional promotion, certifications training and awareness activities.

Next article

A guide to ever safer military aircraft