University of Manchester Compete in MoD robot wars - MIDAS

University of Manchester Compete in MoD robot wars

1 September, 2008

Students from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering prepare robots to fight in a Ministry of Defence contest.

Students from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering prepare robots to fight in a Ministry of Defence contest.
Contestants in the MoD Grand Challenge are required to develop autonomous aerial and ground vehicles capable of warning British troops of the type of threats encountered in combat.  The Manchester team hope to prove they can develop the best new British urban military technology.
The robots consist of a hovering robot with six helicopter rotors, and one rolling land robot.  Both the land and airborne robots have cameras which send images back to the base station, and can be programmed with their destination and use GPS for navigation, without relying on remote control.  The land robot also incorporates sonar sensors to avoid unexpected obstacles which would not have been detected by GPS.
Both robots will take part in the competition between 16th and 18th August, at an army training centre, Copehill Down in Wiltshire.
Dr Crowther of the University of Manchester team says that while it usually takes several years and millions of pounds to develop these types of autonomous robots, the Tumbleweed team has developed a new class of helicopter flight vehicle from concept to first flight in under one year.
He said “Current systems often take two or three specially trained soldiers to operate them and can’t be used by front line troops where the information is most needed.
“The military have an urgent requirement for surveillance support in urban environments and it’s likely they would deploy any new technology immediately if it was shown to be effective.”
The team have high hopes, as Tumbleweed was one of only six Grand Challenge entries to receive funding from the MoD to develop the concept

Source: Manchester University

Link: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=3879

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