ALADDIN (Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks) has delivered new capability in enhancing situational awareness and decision making in autonomous systems such as robots and unmanned aerial vehicles. The ALADDIN project has been successful in allowing autonomous systems collect and share knowledge and make independent decisions based on this knowledge. Thanks to the success of ALADDIN, BAE Systems is now in a position to integrate the technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a range of applications.

Simon Jewell, Managing Director Strategic Capability Solutions from BAE Systems, said: “BAE Systems involvement in Aladdin was to develop a capability that would meet the future requirements of our global customers. We are now in the position to pull through the learning and new technology, and integrate the capability into current and future projects.”

The five year project has developed new data collection and processing algorithms that enable groups of sensors and agents to operate as one decentralised intelligent autonomous system. In an ALADDIN system information is collected, assessed and shared amongst agents and their actions planned and carried out collaboratively without direct human control, in uncertain dynamic environments.

The ALADDIN research team has successfully demonstrated how the technology could help in disaster management, by producing simulations which showed how the agents would communicate and cooperate with one another during an earthquake, and how they would help evacuate people to safety from a dangerous building.

BAE Systems plans to use the results of ALADDIN to improve logistics, communications and combat management systems, and create new systems to enable the cooperative control of UAVs and the detection of terrorism threats using data from social media. ALADDIN has resulted in eight new patents in areas such as sensor fusion, sensor-target assignment, weapon-threat assignment, sensor calibration and distributed control

Dr Simon Case, Capability Technology Leader for Data and Information Processing from BAE Systems said: “One of the core aims of ALADDIN was to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and the academic community, providing all parties with access to a valuable network of technologies, skills and facilities. To strengthen the partnership the project included university secondments into industry and training given to researchers by universities, delivering two-way knowledge transfer.”

Professor Nick Jennings from Southampton University said: “Sponsorship and involvement in projects such as ALADDIN has helped to create a multi functional community of experts and ensure that the project has a high science standing. This successful project has set a new standard in decentralised intelligent systems puts those involved at the forefront of this arena.”

The £5.5m ALADDIN programme has been jointly funded by BAE Systems and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

ALADDIN was developed in conjunction with the University of Southampton, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and the University of Bristol. Around 60 research fellows and PhD students have worked on the project since it started in October 2005. The research has produced over 80 academic papers and won several international competitions and awards.