On 19 July the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the final five teams to take part in phase 2 of the Autonomous Last Mile Resupply System (ALMRS) programme: Animal Dynamics Ltd, Barnard Microsystems Ltd, Fleetonomy, HORIBA MIRA, and QinetiQ.
Phase 2 of the ALMRS programme will last for 12 months and will include the ‘Autonomous Warrior’ 2018 Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE18) about halfway through. Each of the five teams will participate in that event.
AWE18 will begin on 12 November at the Salisbury Plain Training Area. The month-long exercise will include a battlegroup from 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade, which will provide the exercising troops and take responsibility for command and control.
“The whole idea of ALMRS being at AWE18 is to get the potential technology in front of the user as quickly as sensibly possible with the developing systems so that we can start to get some really good user feedback,” Peter Stockel, Laboratory Innovation Autonomy Lead for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), told Jane’s .
“One of the exciting things about this second phase is that we [UK MoD] are working with DFID [Department for International Development] and UKRI [UK Research and Innovation]. Between us, we’ve now been able to commit around GBP3.8 million [USD5 million] for the next 12 months to support shared UK government interests.”
A range of technology has been selected for the second phase. Animal Dynamics put forward a system with autonomous powered paragliders. A vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed by Barnard Microsystems with Cranfield University.
Fleetonomy, collaborated with Thales, Thesigers, Avartek, and Callen Lenz to provide autonomous networked unmanned deliveries in urban environments. Under phase 1, autonomous urban deliveries were demonstrated by Fleetonomy in Helsinki, Finland. This is not yet possible in the United Kingdom for regulatory reasons but Stockel noted that phase 2 would build on that demonstration work.
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