ATRACT: A Trustworthy Robotic Autonomous system to support Casualty Triage

  • Behera, Ardhendu A. (PI)
  • De Silva, Varuna De V.D. (CoI)
  • Saeed, Khizer K. (CoI)
  • Lee, Peter (CoI)

Project Details


ATRACT: A Trustworthy Robotic Autonomous Drone System for Battlefield Casualty Triage

A Trustworthy Robotic Autonomous Drone System is being created to support Battlefield Casualty Triage. Recent developments in ground-to-air weapon systems require a new approach to the old problem of treating battlefield casualties.

In the Vietnam War, American evacuation helicopters transformed soldier survivability with the emergence of the 'Golden Hour'. This relied on air superiority and relative freedom of movement and has been the UK/US/NATO approach to battlefield casualty treatment since. However, recent proliferation and effectiveness of low-cost, accurate, shoulder-launched ground-to-air missiles has significantly disrupted helicopter operations in Ukraine and thus, presenting a heightened risk to Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) operations. Thus, there is an urgent unmet need for enhancing casualty survival in a contested environment where conventional helicopter CASEVAC is slow or unavailable.

Recent advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Autonomous System (RAS) provides new and future opportunities to meet this challenge. In line with this, the proposed ATRACT system is a disruptive innovation to address this unmet need in a novel way by designing, developing and field-testing a trustworthy drone-driven RAS to help frontline medics in decision-making in the first 'platinum ten minutes' following trauma. ATRACT will adopt an interdisciplinary and transformative research approach focusing on: 1) accurate search and localisation of injured soldiers using advanced manoeuvring of a drone in difficult terrains, 2) a novel platform that combines advanced multimodal sensing, beyond state-of-the-art algorithms for a robotic system to detect frontline soldiers, 3) real-time monitoring of their injury severity and vital signs for effective triage prediction/update, and 4) where medical emergency response team is available, real-time casualty information to the enroute medical team as it approaches, enabling more effective crew resource management and casualty prioritisation, thereby reducing time on the ground to maximise survivability and to minimise risk of the frontline medics being attacked.

ATRACT will address practical challenges via design and development processes which will also comply with the latest ethical and legal MoD AI standards, and military medical practice. We will ensure that ATRACT is transparent, consistent and interpretable so that potential bias, legal and medical compliance, and MoD ethics can be addressed systematically at every stage of design, development and testing with expert-in-the-loop. Successful results in this context will revolutionise the way frontline health services, casualty evacuation and the delivery of emergency and lifesaving medical aid is delivered, resulting in significant health, social and economic benefits.

Effective start/end date10/04/239/04/26


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council: £105,937.00