Accurate, rapid-responsive, cost-effective UAV management—including coordination of dissimilar autonomous and semi-autonomous assets, to include umanned ground vehicles (UGV)—is a critical challenge of interest for a variety of defense and civilian applications, including area coverage/search, rapid battlefield medical response, patrolling, maritime or littoral environmental sampling, gradient following, logistics, tracking, force protection, and source-seeking. Implementing a systematic approach for bridging the gap between high-level human intent and implementation of that intent through low-level UAV behaviors is critical both for system usability and cost-effective and timely deployment. While significant recent advances in computer-based UAV sensing, modeling, and control have been made, present ontrol algorithms are highly reliant on high-bandwidth communications, limited element numbers, and sophisticated operators. While UAVs represent an ideal platform for the rapid acquisition of environment data, distribution of medical or other supplies, and other objectives critical to US Navy and Marine Corps missions, effective in situ UAV deployment will require more autonomy and device-to-device coordination, after the issuance of high-level human control commands.
Spectral Energies, in collaboration with University of Maryland, is developing control algorithms and user interaction parameters to determine the optimum configuration in the context of sophisticated temporal logic planning in distributed sense and control systems. This hierarchical framework for automatically constructing controllers based on a system's performance and measurement/delivery/mission requirements results in a robust and comprehensive sensing, sampling, tracking, and cargo logistics solution.
One of our visions is that a single Sailor or Marine with a modern tablet should be able to use our developed solution to coordinate one or several unmanned assets for automated landing zone mapping, UAV/UGV rendezvous, or time-critical airborne delivery of medical or cargo resources in the field.
Low-Cost Long Endurance (LoCLE) UAV
Maintaining persistent monitoring of areas of interest is a key enabler for U.S. military operations and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play a critical role. Without an onboard pilot, these vehicles can loiter on-station with maximum endurance and can provide constant surveillance of the area of interest- relaying information back to the warfighter on target identification, enemy positions and movements, and in some cases neutralizing tactical targets. However, most current-generation UAVs have a maximum endurance of 20-40 hours, meaning that to provide this constant time on station during multi-day operations, multiple vehicles need to be deployed. Particularly in cases where the target is substantially far from the launching point, this necessitates multiple changeovers of aircraft in a short time period and presents the risk of gaps in coverage. These gaps can be exacerbated by the inability of vehicles to tolerate even mild icing conditions, or to maintain station in elevated wind conditions. Many current UAVs have large visual or acoustic signatures, especially turbine-powered aircraft, which make them detectable at low altitudes or restricts them to non-optimal high-altitude operations. Additionally, they have high cost per flight hour, high unit procurement costs, and are difficult to maintain. There exists a clear need for a low-cost, weather-tolerant, ultra-long endurance aircraft that can provide the warfighter with the required on-station capability without imposing excessive logistical burdens.
Spectral Energies has been chosen as a small business partner recently by Aurora Flight Sciences to develop the above concept UAV. For further details, contact us via email (email@example.com) or by phone (937-266-9570/937-902-6546).