Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World's first in-flight demo of multiple unmanned aircraft autonomy system

30.11.2006
QinetiQ has successfully completed the world's first flight demonstration of a system capable of controlling and autonomously organising multiple unmanned aircraft.

The successful flight trial, part of a programme of work under contract to the UK Ministry of Defence, was conducted to support the concept of using a package of self-organising unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) under the control of an operator flying in a fast jet.

Central to the QinetiQ demonstration was a BAC1-11 twin-jet aircraft that has been converted into a surrogate UAV. In addition to controlling the BAC1-11 'remotely', an operator directed a package of simulated UAVs at a strategic level and carried out a simulated ground attack on a moving target.

An autonomy computer using agent-based reasoning software was responsible for the self-organising of the UAV package at a tactical level and the operation of communication systems, sensors and weapons. The trial is a world first in demonstrating such a complex system in flight which greatly reduces the workload of the human operator.

During the flight trial the BAC1-11 flew and operated as if it was unmanned, being directed from a command station designed for use in a fast jet. Throughout the demonstration, flown from Boscombe Down airfield in Wiltshire at the end of October, a flight crew was retained for safety monitoring and control during takeoff and landing. This enabled the flight to take place largely in uncontrolled airspace over South West England negating the need for special clearance or the use of segregated airspace.

Before flights began the entire UAV system was thoroughly tested in a QinetiQ simulation environment at Bedford. This enabled the flight crew and trials team to rehearse the first real sortie 'flying' from a 'virtual' Boscombe Down using all the software and hardware that was installed in the real aircraft. This approach has realised significant cost savings through the reduction in flying hours and associated support costs.

Andrew Sleigh, Group Managing Director of QinetiQ's Defence and Technology Sector, said: "This demonstration is a wonderful achievement for the team. The success is an important step in proving that complex autonomous decision-making technologies are ready to move from a simulated world to realistic flight conditions. Ultimately this work could lead to a single human operator controlling teams of highly autonomous unmanned vehicles to carry out complex missions while reducing the risk to manned aircraft."

QinetiQ's Tornado Integrated Avionics Research Aircraft (TIARA) is currently being equipped with a UAV command and control interface and this will allow further flight trials during which the package of real and simulated aircraft (including the BAC1-11) will be commanded by the fast jet pilot while in flight. This next series of trials is expected to take place in early 2007.

In addition to developing military UAV technologies QinetiQ is actively exploring the potential civil and commercial applications of UAVs. The ability to direct multiple autonomous unmanned aircraft could deliver benefit in a range of scenarios, including a coastguard rescue, a disaster relief operation or during environmental monitoring.

Ben White | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qinetiq.com/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>