UV - Unmanned Vehicles

QinetiQ looks to improve SAR with MUM-T solutions

6th August 2019 - 14:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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QinetiQ is working with the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to look at how UAS technology can strengthen search and rescue (SAR) operations.

The MCA oversees SAR operations in the UK. Under this development programme, the two organisations are investigating how the MCA’s Coastguard Rescue Teams can be supported by small UAS to improve the effectiveness of SAR missions and enhance information sharing.

In a recent demonstration, QinetiQ’s Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) solution allowed MCA control room staff in the National Maritime Operations Centre, Fareham, to safely and securely control the sensor of a UAS in flight at Llanbedr airfield in North West Wales, over 200 miles away. The live feed, which included marked up imagery, search status and reference points, was simultaneously distributed to multiple teams at the search site in Llanbedr, and to remote sites in Fareham, London and Southampton.

Search teams on the ground were equipped with rugged tablets with moving maps, sensor feeds from the air systems, and search progress information; all enabled by a mesh network that robustly shared voice and data amongst all participants.

The lessons learned from this activity have generated insight into how to effectively deploy small UAS in future SAR missions.

Phil Hanson from the MCA said: ‘The MCA is always looking to understand how new technologies and ways of working can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the services we deliver whilst reducing risk to our personnel. This joint activity enabled us to gain a much deeper understanding of how information collected by unmanned systems can be shared effectively throughout our organisation and beyond.’

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