Protecting Environments with UAV Swarms



Windracers, Distributed Avionics, British Antarctic Survey, University of Bristol, The University of Sheffield, Helix Technologies and Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service are working together to develop a live demonstration for uncrewed aerial survey problems.

The Windracers ULTRA uncrewed platform has undergone several trials where it was used to carry cargo for Royal Mail and the NHS. It is designed to carry 100kg payload over 1000km. It has been widely used to deliver medical supplies and medical equipment to the Isle of Wight in Hampshire, Scilly Isles in Cornwall and across the Orkney and Shetland Islands in Scotland.

This proposal focuses on demonstrating how the Windracers ULTRA and Swarm technology can be used in applications that directly help us protect the environment. Swarm technology allowed for extensive coverage and at reduced survey time and human resource.

We will demonstrate how Windracers' aircraft can be used to conduct survey missions. One of the main goals would be to show, with the help British Antarctic Survey, how the systems can gather environmental data in Antarctica as part of the project. Furthermore, we plan to demonstrate how the aircraft can be used to detect and locate wildfires, which builds on the research work conducted in our successful Future Flight 2 projects and support from the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service.

For these operations to scale, the ULTRA platforms need to be operated in large numbers and in difficult environmental conditions. This raises several technological challenges, some of which are centred around navigation, situational awareness, resilience to failures and degraded performance states.

In this project, the consortium partners aim to perform several live demonstrations of swarming UAVs for survey missions in Antarctica and fire detection in the UK.

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