One of the key areas being looked at is “autonomous last mile resupply”. According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), the last mile represents the extremely dangerous final approach to the combat zone and is crucial to ensuring soldiers have the food, fuel and ammunition to keep them alive.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “Our troops now have the chance to test out a huge range of robotic kit in what will be the biggest exercise of its kind in our history. This equipment could revolutionise our Armed Forces, keeping them safe and giving them the edge in an increasingly unstable world.”
Earlier this year MoD announced that five bids were to be involved in the Autonomous Warrior exercise for as part of its Autonomous Last Mile Resupply project. The bids are being led by: Animal Dynamics, Barnard Microsystems , Fleetonomy, HORIBA MIRA, and QinetiQ.
The airborne technologies being trialled include Animal Dynamics’ autonomous powered paragliders and a vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle-based system being developed by Barnard Microsystems and Cranfield University.
Autonomous powered paragliders are one of the technologies being developed to resupply troops (Image: Banard Microsystems)
In addition, QinetiQ, Hull University, Malloy Aeronautics, MilRem Robotics, Roke Manor Research, Oxbotica, IQHQ and Aberystwyth University are developing an integrated highly-automated logistic system for the program, which according to the MoD uses autonomous hoverbikes and advanced unmanned ground vehicles.
The MoD is to spend £800 million through its Defence Innovation Fund following the exercise to support developing the ideas further.