in Defence

Autonomy for tomorrow's world

Posted 20 July 2018 · Add Comment

In a new cross-government collaboration, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Department for International Development (DFID) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are working together on turning cutting-edge designs for drones and robots into reality.

 

Above: The Autonomous Last Mile Resupply project is looking at the technologies that could transform the delivery of logistics.
Copyright QinetiQ

Futuristic drones and unmanned groundrobots with autonomous ‘deliver to order’ capability could provide timely answers to the vital challenges of access for humanitarian aid and disaster relief in developing countries and future front-line military logistics support.

Experts from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are leading the partnership as part of MoD’s Innovation Autonomy Challenge, with joint competition funding from MoD, DFID and UKRI being placed through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

This is the second phase of the competition, which will build prototypes for initial demonstration this year, and is worth a total of £3.8m over the next 12 months. Four of the five successful organisations are British-led, with a wide range of sub-contractors from small and medium enterprises, industry and academia.

Winning systems concepts include autonomous hoverbikes, powered paragliders and other unmanned air vehicles, operating alongside self-driving ground vehicles to deliver supplies across difficult, and potentially contested, terrain.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Defence makes an unrivalled investment in science and technology, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs and brilliant career opportunities, generating billions for the UK economy.

“This Autonomous Last Mile competition has seen next-generation concepts from unmanned hoverbikes to powered paragliders come to life. And they could be saving troops’ lives on the battlefield in years to come. I congratulate all those involved in the competition as they ensure our military remain ahead of our adversaries.”



Above:
The Autonomous Last Mile Resupply project is looking at the technologies that could transform the delivery of logistics.
Copyight: Banard Dynamics


Phase 2 has selected 5 bids, led by Animal Dynamics Ltd, Barnard Microsystems Ltd, Fleetonomy, HORIBA MIRA, and Qinetiq, to build prototypes systems for initial testing and evaluation this autumn:

    Animal Dynamics with a system featuring novel autonomous powered paragliders;

    Barnard Microsystems Ltd with Cranfield University developing a vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle-based system;

    Fleetonomy with Thales, Thesigers, Avartek & Callen Lenz to provide a system to demonstrate autonomous networked unmanned deliveries in the urban and other environments;

    Horiba Mira with Frazer Nash Consultancy featuring a highly autonomous all-terrain unmanned ground vehicle using artificial intelligence to provide GPS-denied navigation, advanced terrain perception and object recognition;

    QinetiQ with Hull University, Malloy Aeronautics, MilRem Robotics, Roke Manor Research, Oxbotica, IQHQ Ltd & Aberystwyth University offering an integrated highly-automated logistic system, featuring autonomous hoverbikes and advanced unmanned ground vehicles.

Peter Stockel, Dstl’s lead for the Innovation Autonomy Challenge, said: “We’re particularly pleased that we’re able to take the next step on this important journey in partnership with DFID and UKRI, as part of our innovation initiative.

“Working together we can collectively make the best use of the resources available for the most promising proposals and this is good joining together of important government interests and investment.”

It increases our options across similar requirements and offers a broader range of potential routes to market for this rapidly developing technology area where the UK has world-class expertise and innovation.

For future frontline military operations, the technology could reduce risk to soldiers by removing them from the hazards of frontline logistics resupply and improving the pace of operations.

Lt Colonel Richard Craig, Staff Officer for Robotics and Autonomous Systems, said: “The Autonomous Last Mile Resupply project is looking at the technologies for use in ways that could transform the delivery of logistics in not only Land, but also Maritime operations. It has the potential to reduce the amount of supplies stored at the front line and increase the speed of resupply. There is the potential to increase combat mass as the technology enables the redeployment of current manpower onto different tasks.”

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Royal Navy test fires new anti-ship missile

A target boat took a direct hit in the Irish Sea as the Royal Navy successfully tested its new missile to defeat terrorists and suicide bombers.

Construction begins on F-35 infrastructure at RAF Lakenheath

Work has started on buildings that will be home to two US Air Force F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath.

US Ambassador highlights special security relationship at Heathrow

Heathrow hosted US Ambassador to the UK yesterday, who heralded Heathrow’s strong security partnership with US authorities, thanking the airport for its efforts to keep the skies safe for transatlantic passengers and make travel

TT Electronics unveils new modular current sensor approach for aircraft electrical systems

Provider of engineered electronics for performance critical applications, TT Electronics, today unveiled an innovative approach to developing customised solutions for the harsh environment requirements of the aerospace and

NCSC releases 2019 Active Cyber Defence report

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released its Active Cyber Defence (ACD) report yesterday, revealing that a scam to defraud thousands of UK citizens using a fake email address spoofing a UK airport, was one of a wide range of

Baines Simmons appoints Mike Da Silva as consultant

Baines Simmons, part of the Consulting & Training division of global aviation services group Air Partner, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Da Silva as consultant. He will report directly to Mike Wallace, Head of

See us at
ADSS1000DBT1706171019VIDSE BT1605060320SMI FAV BT1006141119SMI ActiveP BT1206121119DSEI JP BT1605201119SMI GMS BT1906071119