Computer Science expertise at the University of Hull is being used to help develop an autonomous system capable of delivering humanitarian relief to disaster areas and supplies to troops in the field.
The University is part of a consortium taking part in the Autonomous Last Mile Resupply Competition which is looking for innovative ways to streamline distribution of supplies to dangerous and inaccessible locations. The consortium is one of five projects working in Phase 2 of the Last Mile Challenge.
It is being co-funded by the Department for International Development, Innovate UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.
Led by QinetiQ, the consortium brings together a mix of industry and academia, including the University of Hull, Malloy Aeronautics, Milrem Robotics, Roke Manor Research, IQHQ Ltd and Aberystwyth University.
The year-long project will see each organisation develop part of the system including advanced autonomous ground vehicles and drones as well as critical logistics resupply software.
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. It can also be used to deliver life-saving aid to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people in hard-to-reach locations, including in the aftermath of humanitarian disasters where aid workers can be exposed to significant dangers.
As part of the project, experts at the University of Hull are developing the critical information control system which will take orders, locate supplies, work out the best route and vehicle and then send those supplies to where they need to be.
Leading the University’s element of the project is John Murray, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the University of Hull with Research Assistants Phininder Balaghan and Craig Maddra.