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 Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>