Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World first as fast jet pilot directs multiple unmanned aircraft

04.04.2007
A system which provides a single pilot with the ability to fly their own aircraft while simultaneously directing up to four further unmanned aircraft has been successfully demonstrated from the cockpit of a military fast jet for the first time.

The system, developed by QinetiQ and funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), gives unmanned aircraft an advanced level of independence and intelligence, or autonomy. A series of successful flight trials were flown using a Tornado as the command and control aircraft and a BAC 1-11 trials aircraft acting as a "surrogate" unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The Tornado pilot also had responsibility for commanding a further three simulated UAVs.

The demonstration flights were conducted last week, taking off from MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire and flying largely in uncontrolled airspace over South West England. Throughout the sorties a mixed RAF and QinetiQ flight crew was retained on the 1-11 for safety monitoring and control during takeoff and landing. QinetiQ's Tornado Integrated Avionics Research Aircraft (TIARA), flown by an RAF test pilot, then assumed control of the 1-11 surrogate UAV and three simulated UAVs for the middle section of each flight.

Working in combination, the Tornado and four UAVs carried out a simulated ground attack on a moving target. The sophisticated computer on the UAVs allowed them to act autonomously i.e. self-organise, communicate, sense their environment, including possible enemies, and target their weapons. However, the final decision to fire any (simulated) weapons was retained by the Tornado pilot. The system has been designed to provide the UAVs with a significant degree of independent intelligence in order to greatly reduce the workload of the pilot but also ensures that the most important decisions are retained by a human operator.

Tony Wall, Managing Director of QinetiQ's Air Division, said: "The UK is playing a leading role in the development of UAV technology and this autonomy programme is truly world-leading. Working closely with our MOD customers and RAF partners, we are delighted with the successes achieved at Boscombe Down last week. There remains a great deal of work to be done before a system like this could be considered for operations but the trials represent an important step in proving that complex autonomy technologies are ready to move from a simulated world to realistic flight conditions."

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

Tornado and the UAVs. This approach has realised significant cost savings through the reduction in flying hours and associated support costs.

The UAV autonomy technology developed for these trials is feeding into two further government- backed programmes. QinetiQ is playing a leading role in the Taranis project, a £124 million joint industry and MOD initiative to develop an autonomous unmanned combat aircraft. QinetiQ's technology is also supporting the £32 million ASTRAEA project, a joint industry and DTI initiative to explore the technical and regulatory challenges of using UAVs for civil and commercial applications. The ability to direct multiple autonomous unmanned aircraft could deliver benefit in a range of civil scenarios, including coastguard search and rescue, disaster relief operations or during environmental monitoring.

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

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>