Through Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) funding, HORIBA MIRA is looking at ways to help unmanned ground vehicles operate effectively in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)-denied environments.
Current autonomous systems are highly reliant on GNSS which is vulnerable to interference and jamming. This proof-of-concept system employs a number of novel methods for both local information collection and interpretation which enable operation under GNSS-denied conditions, resulting in a step change in unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) autonomy, localisation and perception.
The first phase of the project used a Land Rover Defender as a full scale UGV, completing unassisted laps of the HORIBA MIRA off-road proving ground, to demonstrate the capability without the use of GNSS and using passive-only imaging sensors (without using a technology that emits and therefore ‘broadcasts’ its location, such as LIDAR). The next phase aims to further improve the core technology, both in terms of system performance and sensing capability to produce an advanced prototype that can be easily integrated into legacy platforms utilising their existing systems, or future unmanned vehicles.
While the system has been developed as an enabler for unmanned autonomous platforms it’s also applicable to manned platforms, providing situational awareness and navigation without GNSS. By taking an artificial intelligence approach to the localisation problem the system is very tolerant to changing environments.
Andrew Maloney,Chief Engineer for UGVs and Defence,HORIBA MIRA says:
CDE support has enabled us to take a novel concept with high technical risk and significant potential benefit and produce a proof-of-concept demonstration in very short timescales. The results so far have exceeded our expectations. Working with the Dstl technical partners has helped us further focus and steer our technology to maximise the potential future benefit to UK MOD.
Founded in 1946 HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of pioneering engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors. HORIBA MIRA has over 600 employees based at its site in the Midlands.
CDE funds novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research. We work with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to develop cost-effective capabilities for UK armed forces and national security.
CDE is part of Dstl.