Accelerator competition: autonomous last mile resupply

Key Features

The Ministry of Defence is to invest in projects that look at ways of using autonomous systems in the ‘last mile’ of the supply chain to front-line military operations.

Up to £1.5 million is available in the first phase of the competition. There is up to an additional £1.5 million in phase 2 that includes proposed system designs. This will only be available to projects funded through phase 1.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £80,000

Opens: 19th Apr 2017

Closes: 21st Jun 2017

! This scheme is now closed

This Defence and Security Accelerator (Accelerator) competition seeks to develop and demonstrate the use of autonomous systems to deliver mission-critical supplies, focusing on the challenging ‘last mile’ resupply in the land environment.

The ‘last mile resupply’ involves the delivery of combat supplies from the forward-most location (such as a physical base or a logistics/infantry vehicle) to personnel engaged in combat operations. Although relatively small in distance, these resupply activities are challenging as they are in an environment that is typically hostile, complex and contested. These activities need to quickly and efficiently deliver vital supplies in order to maintain operational tempo and enable successful mission outcomes.

It’s important to note the last mile is a concept, not a fixed distance, and may be up to 30km in some scenarios.

Competition information

The competition is for fully funded development contracts.

Phase 1 contracts are likely to be worth between £40,000 and £80,000 and last up to 6 months.

The aim of a last mile resupply system is to:

  • reduce the demand on existing platforms and infrastructure
  • reduce the risk and burden on military personnel during last mile resupply
  • increase the efficiency of the last mile logistic resupply operations with pace and accuracy
  • provide an assured resupply capability for forward military users to enable more agile operations in complex environments

To achieve an autonomous last mile resupply system (ALMRS), development and demonstration of technologies in 3 key areas are required, which have been set as the 3 technical challenges for this Accelerator themed competition:

  • Challenge 1: unmanned air and ground load carrying platforms
  • Challenge 2: technologies and systems to allow load carrying platforms to operate autonomously
  • Challenge 3: technologies to autonomously predict, plan, track and optimise resupply demands from military users

For additional information on these challenges, please see Annex A.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is looking for proposals to address the 3 technology challenges.

Key milestones in phase 1 will be:

  • a joint collaboration event with all successful contractors to provide the opportunity to learn about the aims of each project, to demonstrate the capabilities and the outline the challenges faced
  • a joint demonstration event towards the end of phase 1 featuring a mix of live (outdoor) demonstrations and (indoor) conference-style presentations
  • submission of a phase 2 proposal, which must include a proposed system design incorporating elements of all 3 challenges

When submitting your proposal you need to decide which challenge your proposal meets. You can submit more than one proposal if your technology covers more than one challenge. To ensure a broad range of good value for money proposals, funding for the same technology will only be applied once – unless the proposal can be applied in a completely different way. For your phase 2 proposal you should consider partnering with another organisation (if required) to improve your chances of success at phase 2.

For further details on Phase 2 & 3, click here.