RoboK part of UK-wide team using drones to monitor key infrastructure sites

A comprehensive program by Cambridge-based RoboK to continuously monitor activity at key UK infrastructure sites has been given government backing.

Robok technology monitors sites for real-time data

The first-of-its-kind project delivers a visual insights solution to monitor critical national infrastructure in conjunction with BT, Associated British Ports (ABP) and Kier Highways.

Titled ‘Intelligent Drones for Port and Highways Technology’ – InDePTH – the project is part of the ‘Future Flight Challenge Phase 3’ programme, which has received major new funding available via research agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to help achieve an ambitious vision for the UK’s future drone economy.

RoboK is a VC-backed computer vision start-up building AI-powered analytical solutions for large-scale transport and logistics infrastructure. The company spanned out from the University of Cambridge in 2017 and currently has 17 staff. Its technology makes use of cameras, whether aerial or fixed security cameras, to determine activity at ports, highways and other industrial workplaces.

Robok team with Hao Zheng, CEO and co-founder, center front.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Robok team with Hao Zheng, CEO and co-founder, center front. Picture: Keith Heppell

As part of the project, RoboK, ABP, Kier Highways, Connected Places Catapult, Herotech8 and BT are all working together to build and test the use of drones to carry out automatic ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS) missions to monitor and control critical national infrastructure. Initially, the project will demonstrate value in three use case areas for ports and highways, including landside port operations and management, marine operations and highway safety and defect inspections.

The ambition for the project is to create efficient, low-carbon, cost-effective solutions for infrastructure management with Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and practically showcase opportunities for ports and highways to use ‘drones as a service’. Using AI and data analytics, the InDePTH platform will offer seamless integration from UAS imagery, through operational systems, to actionable insights.

A key aim of the project is to enable near real-time data transfer from capture to insight generation. By doing this, the data gathered by UAS becomes a greater asset to a wider number of end users. Close collaboration between the two end users ABP and Kier will engage different industries with very similar requirements, sharing best practices and physical demonstrations.

RoboK is collaborating with BT, Associated British Ports and Kier to use AI in monitoring critical national infrastructure at ports and other infrastructure such as motorways
RoboK is collaborating with BT, Associated British Ports and Kier to use AI in monitoring critical national infrastructure at ports and other infrastructure such as motorways

Harm van Weezel, ABP chief information officer, said: “As the leading ports group in the UK with a vast network of 21 ports, we are committed to driving technological innovation within the maritime sector.

“We are delighted to be taking part in this exciting project to help map out the future for intelligent drone technology and the benefits it can bring to port customers.”

Hao Zheng, RoboK CEO and co-founder, said: “As an award-winning start-up specializing in what AI can bring to large-scale logistics infrastructure such as ports and highways, we’re excited to be using our patented computer vision technology and unique analytics to help make these critical systems safer, more secure, and more efficient in an amazing collaboration with some of the UK’s leading players.

“With drones offering unparalleled flexibility and coverage, we’ll enable actionable insights on a scale that will not only show tremendous benefits to our partners and have a positive impact on the environment, but also take the next step in the digital transformation of the UK’s highways and ports.”


.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button