Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ulster Scientists Join Intelligent Rescue Robot Partnership

13.08.2008
Scientists at the University of Ulster are to begin working on a multi-million pound project to develop unmanned 'intelligent' aerial robots which could revolutionise the way in which search and rescue operations or the response to natural or man-made disasters are carried out.

The small helicopters would be remotely controlled and would be able to send back pictures and data to a central command post. They would also be able to communicate with each other to co-ordinate their operations.

Professor Gerard Parr, Professor of Telecommunications Engineering at Ulster said the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could be used in a number of scenarios including to:

* Search for people lost in isolated areas like mountains, forests or moors.

* Monitor disasters like floods or forest fires which could cover thousands of acres.

* Survey biological disasters such as chemical factory fires and sample gas emissions.

* Act as a communications platform where normal radio or mobile telephone transmissions are impossible or disrupted.

Professor Parr and his colleague Professor Sally McClean, Professor of Mathematics at Ulster, are working with scientists from University College London and the University of Oxford on the project. The teams have been awarded a prestigious £2.2m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the UK government’s leading funding agency for research in engineering and physical sciences, to investigate the development of the innovative systems and control technology.

Ulster’s expertise lies in the fields of telecommunications protocolds, radio communications, control and optimization of data management. The project runs from September this year until February 2012.

Professor Parr said: “We intend to use helicopter models as the platform for the new technology. We need a vehicle that can carry cameras and various sensors as well as the control mechanisms. A helicopter-type unmanned vehicle would be able to hover and would be more stable than an aeroplane for specific operations.

“Ultimately, the intention would be to send several of these unmanned vehicles, a swarm, out at one time to enable them to cover a very large area in the shortest possible time. Using infra-red and other sensors they could scan large areas like Dartmoor, the Mournes or the Lake District using intelligent search algorithms to identify a target whilst at the same time avoiding collision with one another if someone was reported missing.

“They would be controlled from a command base, which could be a jeep roving about the area or possibly airborne, but they would also be able to act autonomously. For example, if one UAV detected a signal such as a heat source, or a radio pulse from clothing or a mobile phone call, it could leave the other vehicles to investigate and then return and relay its information back to base.” There are many engineering and research challenges to be addressed as part of the project, not least to design adequate energy awareness protocols that will optimise in-situ operations as long as possible in support of a particular mission.

The UAVs could stay aloft for up to half a hour, flying at 20-30mph or even faster over a range of 5000 metres or more depending on payload, mission function and power levels.

The vehicles could be equipped with application specific sensors, including heat sensitive cameras and video, gas particulate filters, wireless radio communications and GPS technology. They could organize their own search, determine if the object found was what they were looking for and then report back to the ground controller.

As well as Professors Parr and McClean, the multi-disciplinary team consists of Professor Steve Hailes and Dr Simon Julier from the Department of Computer Science at UCL and Dr Niki Trigoni and Dr Stephen Cameron from the Oxford University Computing Laboratory who have international reputations in the areas of hardware sensor design and helicoptor platforms.

The team were awarded the grant following a highly competitive process for funding under the EPSRC WINES III (Wireless and Wireless Intelligent Networked Systems) Research Programme. A total of 61 consortia proposals were originally submitted, with 15 shortlisted and four going through to the final selection.

The scientists will build prototypes of the unmanned vehicles with external partners including BAE Systems Operations Ltd, Thales Research and Technology UK Ltd, Communications Research Centre, Canada, BT Research Laboratories UK, Boeing Co, USA and the UK Home Office Science Development Branch.

David Young | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ulster.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

nachricht New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>