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
New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering