Machinery & Automation

Swarms of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Test New Dogfighting Skills

Aerial dogfighting began more than a century ago in the skies over Europe with propeller-driven fighter aircraft carried aloft on wings of fabric and wood. An event held recently in southern California could mark the beginning of a new chapter in this form of aerial combat.

Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Robotics

Language Learning Robot Could Advance Autonomous Vehicles

A Purdue University researcher and his team are developing technology to give robots the ability to learn language. A team led by Jeffrey Mark Siskind, associate professor in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has developed three algorithms that allow a wheeled robot to learn the meanings of words from example sentences that describe example paths taken by the robot, to use the words to generate a sentence to describe a path of movement, and to comprehend the sentence in order to produce a new path of movement.

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics, Simulation Software, Software

High-Speed, Autonomous Surface Patrol Capability Demonstrated

After a year of internal research and development, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, recently conducted a large, at-sea demonstration of swarming unmanned surface vessels (USV). The experiment — done in collaboration with the Surface Targets Branch of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Port Hueneme, California — was designed to advance the state of the art of collaborative, autonomous USV behaviors to higher speeds and a larger numbers of vessels.

Posted in: News, Robotics

Army Researchers Demonstrate 3-D Printed Drones

Soldiers witnessed the innovation of Army researchers recently during flight testing of 3-D printed unmanned aircraft systems that were created on-demand for specific missions.

Posted in: News, Robotics

Autonomous Underwater Munitions and Explosives of Concern Detection System

The objective of Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) Project MR-201002, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Detection System, was to integrate an untethered and unmanned underwater vehicle with a total field magnetometer for underwater munitions detection and upgrade magnetic noise compensation software to reduce interference from electrical and dynamic influences such as vehicle heading, pitch and roll.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Noise, Hazards and emergency management, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment

Power-Line UAV Modeling and Simulation

The Army Research Laboratory Power-Line Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Modeling and Simulation (ARL-PLUMS) Software Tool allows a user to model, compute, and analyze the quasistatic electric and magnetic fields around alternating current (AC) power lines. ARL-PLUMS comes with an interactive graphical user interface (GUI), which accesses a compute engine to calculate these fields around these lines due to various ground and line geometries and load conditions. ARLPLUMS allows the user to rapidly define all significant model parameters and compute the electric and magnetic fields along a UAV path or in a cutting plane. In addition, a set of false-color plots can be created to show the time-varying nature of the fields as a movie. ARL-PLUMS also comes with an application programming interface (API) for accessing some of these features from MATLAB without using the GUI.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, CAD / CAM / CAE, Electric cables, Human machine interface (HMI), Noise, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Design of a Multi-Segmented Magnetic Robot for Hull Inspection

Hull, deck plate, and tank inspection for corrosion, deformation, and fractures is a necessary part of ship maintenance to ensure functional integrity and proper operation of the ship. These inspections are labor intensive, expensive, and often dangerous. A multi-segmented magnetic wheeled robot can assist the surveyors in these tasks.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Robotics, Vehicle inspections, Marine vehicles and equipment

A Modular Approach to Video Designation of Manipulation Targets for Mobile Manipulators

Currently fielded EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robots are limited in terms of both mechanical ability and autonomous capabilities when compared to the current state-of-the-art in mobile robotics. To combat this problem the Joint Service EOD Program is developing the Advanced EOD Robot System (AEODRS). AEODRS consists of three system variants that vary in size: small for dismounted operations, medium for tactical operations, and large for base/infrastructure operations. Differing from past EOD UGV development efforts, these robots will be designed under a modular architecture consisting of several capability modules that are to be developed separately.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Architecture, Robotics, Hazards and emergency management, Military vehicles and equipment

Two-Dimensional Distributed Velocity Collision Avoidance

As the number of autonomous vehicles continues to increase for both commercial and military applications, collision avoidance algorithms are of the utmost importance to successfully execute missions in dynamic environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Mathematical models, Collision avoidance systems, Autonomous vehicles

Undersea Communications Between Submarines and Unmanned Undersea Vehicles in a Command and Control Denied Environment

Nuclear powered submarines can stay submerged for days at a time and only have to come to periscope depth (PD) for communications and minor house-keeping items. Submarines are completely reliant on satellites for communications and orders from their commanders ashore. A command and control denied environment (C2DE) is an area in which communications are jammed or degraded. There is no technology currently available that allows submarines to conduct communications in a C2DE. The only method currently available is for the submarine to navigate to unaffected waters, conduct all of its communications, and then to travel back to the C2DE, wasting valuable time and possibly compromising the submarine’s mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Vehicle networking, Wireless communication systems, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment, Satellites