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
Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik
Discovering electric mobility in a playful way
18.08.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences