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Global aerospace and defence group BAE Systems has teamed up with leading universities in a £6m project aimed at developing technologies that will benefit the UK’s emergency services.

According to BAE Systems, emergency services are being stretched due to challenges posed by increasingly difficult and non-traditional operations. Jointly funded by BAE and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the five-year Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks (ALADDIN) programme hopes to address this issue by improving the techniques and technologies used during an emergency response.

The project will work with researchers from universities of Southampton, Oxford, Bristol and ImperialCollege to develop technologies such as computer modelling and automated robots that are able to react to changing scenarios for future applications in disaster management. The project is scheduled to conclude its research in October next year.

Simon Case from BAE Systems said: ‘We place great pride in developing and investing our skill base, and inspiring the future generation through its partnerships with educational establishments.

‘The environments our emergency services work in are characterised by uncertainty, ambiguity, imprecision and bias. They involve multiple stakeholders with different aims and objectives, and often limited and ever-changing levels of resource.’

Prof Nick Jennings from the School of Electronics and Computer Science at SouthamptonUniversity said: ‘This is highly complex research of wide relevance. To replicate the real-world scenario of an environmental disaster or a terrorist incident, we are taking a total systems view on information and knowledge fusion, and considering the constant feedback that exists between sensing, decision-making and acting in such systems.’