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The University of Southampton

Intelligent Agent Technology

Collectives of unmanned systems and sensors

Intelligent Agent techonology

The evolution of unmanned vehicle technology and self-powered sensors points to large-scale deployment of these technologies in a variety of applications. These range from emergency response and defence to more civilian applications such as the Internet of Things and energy systems (eg smart grid). Managing the interdependencies between sensors, humans and autonomous systems will become a challenging task that will require the smarts that are adaptive to dynamic environments and can make decisions under significant uncertainty. Intelligent agents are seen as the key technology to underpin the design of complex networks of sensors, autonomous systems and humans.

Technological advantages of intelligent agent technology

  • Autonomy: agents act on behalf of their individual owner, to achieve individual or collective goals.
  • Dynamic: agents adapt to new tactical targets and low-level operator decision-making.
  • Resilience: decentralisation of decision-making, information fusion, coupled with risk-aware algorithms that coordinate unmanned vehicles, humans and sensors to sense and avoid risky targets (eg fire/enemy).
  • Robustness: agents are able to adjust to the addition or removal of an actor from the collective.
  • Efficiency: agent-based solutions provide quality guarantees and can scale to thousands through decentralised computation.

Technology roadmap

The strength of Southampton is in its applications-driven approach to research, and this is evidenced by its partnerships with BAE Systems and Hampshire County Council to address disaster response and energy management challenges.

Collaboration opportunity

We are open to collaboration in the H2020 programme, TSB calls, and ATI projects. We also provide consultancy services to aerospace and information management companies. Such collaborations can be through industry-funded research projects or PhD students. We are particularly open to collaboration with BAE Systems subcontractors.

If you would like to know more, please contact Dr Sarvapali Ramchurn and see more videos at or

Intelligent agent technology
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