Global Mission Operation Center and autonomous driving of the truck by the driver at the Local Mission Operation Center, ©DLR 2022
"It has been raining for days and the usual routes in South Sudan are no longer passable. A new route has to be chosen for the World Food Programme (WFP) food delivery, which can be dangerous for human drivers. The AHEAD team is therefore contracted by WFP to deliver food to a remote village in South Sudan using a remote SHERP without a driver."
The scenario for the final demonstration on Nov. 9, 2022, at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen was based on this future potential use case. The SHERP was first loaded at the starting point. In the GMOC (Global Mission Operation Center), the overall mission was planned and important information was provided to the LMOC (Local Mission Operation Center) to control the SHERP from there. After two years of the AHEAD project (Autonomous Humanitarian Emergency Aid Devices), all technical components of the mission were successfully tested for the first time.
The GMOC can operate worldwide and be stationed at a central location, far away from the individual mission sites. In the long term, it could even be located at WFP headquarters. During the development and demonstration phase of AHEAD, a prototype operations center was established at ZKI to develop initial concepts and test elements of the GMOC. The main tasks are to perform the pre-planning of the mission, the overall management of the mission operations as well as the evaluation of the missions and to accompany them by means of up-to-date situation maps and assessments (based on earth observation and other geo-data). The situation picture of the GMOC should provide all relevant geo-information of the mission region, starting with an overview of the topography of the region, characteristics of potential routes up to semantic data layers, e.g. crisis information (floods) or relevant objects in the course of the truck route (obstacles, houses or bridges). In addition, the situation picture will also be used in the future for planning communication, e.g. coverage of the radio link, between LMOC and truck.
Interactive 2D situation image, ©DLR 2022
GMOC: Multimodal Situational Awareness
In addition to the participating project partners, first and foremost the World Food Programme (WFP) and the DLR institutes RM (Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics), KN (Institute of Communication and Navigation), DFD/ZKI (German Remote Sensing Data Center), TS (Transportation Systems), as well as the industrial partners Roboception GmbH, Sensodrive GmbH and Blickfeld GmbH, other potential end users, such as the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK), German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), German Rescue Robotics Center (DRZ) and the Institute of the Fire Brigade NRW participated.
Participants in the final demonstration at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen, ©DLR 2022
The team of Security Research of the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK), Landesgeschäftsstelle München was also able to gain a detailed insight into the technical design of the systems on site and will accompany the follow-up project MaiSHU (Multimodal Perception and Human-Machine Interfaces of Semi-Autonomous Intelligent Systems for Humanitarian Aid in Insecure and Unstructured Environments) as an application partner and test them in near-operational conditions in the future.
Employees of the DLR-ZKI and the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics, together with a participant from the BRK, ©BRK 2022