The use of robotics for space, environment, maritime and deep-sea exploration continues to grow due to recent technological advances. In homeland security, law enforcement and defence, improved functionality and sophistication of search and rescue features by unmanned systems augmented by intelligent surveillance and chemical / biological / radioactive / nuclear / explosive threat countermeasures have allowed a rapid uptake of the RAS technologies. Development of unmanned systems in the UK includes unmanned aircraft systems, ground vehicles, and maritime systems. Significant effort has already been contributed to the ESA’s Mars mission, and UK universities and research organisations have a strong track record in the development and practical deployment of unmanned maritime systems. With over 90% of the information, people, goods, and services that sustain and create opportunities for regional economic prosperity flow across the maritime domain in addition to its impact on global environment, this is clearly a strategic area of focus for the UK RAS community.

Key focus research areas within the Network:

  • increased autonomy,
  • assessing environmental obstacles, hazards, and constraints,
  • sensing and understanding complex, dynamic environments,
  • navigation under extreme conditions,
  • improved and resilient communications, and
  • capabilities more efficiently through modularity, commonality and interoperability.

Unmanned systems theme leads within the Network: