UUV Developments for Defense and Commercial Applications

Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUVs), also commonly referred to as Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs), have a history dating back to 1957 with the Special Purpose Underwater Research Vehicle (SPURV) developed by the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory. Academia and special government programs drove the early decades of research but advancements were slow. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, more explosive growth came for the Remotely Operated Undersea Vehicle (ROV) market which had two primary advantages: they were operated via a tether that provided power for the vehicle and man-in-the-loop control.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

The Evolution of Tactical Robots

The lessons of yesterday and today are driving tomorrow’s robotic programs.

A revolution in Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) is taking place today that focuses on formalizing the permanent integration of ground robots into military organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense and other nations’ military forces as well. Similar activities are likewise cementing the relationship of UGVs to first responder organizations as ground robots continue to prove that they save lives.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics, Emergency management, Robotics, Military vehicles and equipment

Next-Generation Antenna Design

Materials and Processes Enable New Possibilities for Unmanned Systems Command & Control

Unmanned vehicles are finding increasing usage in military engagements, not only for aerial applications but also for ground and underwater missions. Modern antenna designs can increase unmanned vehicle fuel efficiency through reduced antenna size, increased antenna conformality, and reduced antenna weight. For airborne UAVs, time on station is a critical mission parameter directly influenced by payload weight and aerodynamics. For unmanned ground vehicles, increased antenna conformality reduces the likelihood of accidental damage that occurs with externally protruding antennas.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Antennas, Aerodynamics, Autonomous vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Photovoltaic Thermography From the Air

Raleigh, NC

Defective solar cells can destroy an entire module. Therefore, conducting regular inspections using thermography is a great way to perform preventative maintenance on photovoltaics installations. Any noticeable differences in temperature that are encountered can be used to reliably detect electrical, mechanical, installation and processing-related defects, including short circuits, inactive cells, moisture, and poorly soldered joints. As part of scheduled maintenance operations, thermography can provide valuable information for resolving warranty claims.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Solar energy, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Inspections

Unmanned Demonstrator Aircraft for Maritime Surveillance

Northrop Grumman
Falls Church, VA

The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built unmanned demonstrator aircraft used for maritime surveillance missions by the U.S. Navy recently surpassed 10,000 combat flying hours supporting intelligence-gathering missions in the Middle East. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) aircraft are currently flying 15 missions a month and allow fleet commanders to identify and track potential targets of interest using a specialized suite of surveillance sensors.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Security systems, Marine vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Additive Manufacturing of Small Tactical Munitions

Fullerton, CA
Solid Concepts Inc.
Valencia, CA

Raytheon is addressing the need for smaller tactical weapons that still incorporate all fundamental features for small tactical manned or unmanned aerial platforms with some help from additive manufacturing (a.k.a. 3D printing). Their newest tactical munition, named Pyros, is light, precise, and a serious weapon.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing processes, Military vehicles and equipment

Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Pittsburgh, PA

RE2, Inc. recently announced that the company has been awarded additional funding by the Department of Defense to commercialize its high speed inspection robot called the Fore-Runner. The ForeRunner unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) was developed under an Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the additional funding was awarded through the Robotics Technology Consortium as a Phase III SBIR with the Army’s Tank and Automotive Research Engineering and Development Center (TARDEC).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics, Inspections, Autonomous vehicles

Supervisory Control State Diagrams to Depict Autonomous Activity

The military seeks to enable agile and adaptive mission management and control for a team comprised of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unattended ground sensors (UGS), dismounted war-fighters with mobile control stations, and an operator located in a central control station. With UAVs equipped and authorized to re-plan and act without human input, the challenge is developing methods for a human operator to sufficiently monitor, inspect, and manipulate the UAVs’ activities, which include goal-directed task selection, situation assessment, decision-making, planning, and actions.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Sensors and actuators, Human factors, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Aerodynamic Modeling of a Flapping Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The phenomenon of flapping wing flight in nature has been studied for centuries. Recently, flapping flight for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications has become of interest. Flapping wing flight offers many potential advantages over traditional fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Fixed-wing UAVs have the advantages of long range and endurance, and high payload capabilities; however, they require high forward flight speeds and most configurations cannot hover, which makes them difficult to control in confined spaces.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Airframes, Wings, Computer simulation, Aerodynamics, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Queuing Model for Supervisory Control of Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles

One critical aspect in developing a quantitative model of unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) operator and system performance has been to adopt a task-centric approach to interface design that entails an explicit representation of actions or tasks that need to be performed by the operator. The representation of work in terms of a task serves as a trace in the system that enables designers to track workload in addition to the task progress and flow of tasks among team members. In supervisory control, the focus is the flow of tasks (work) through a system that is composed of human servers and automated servers (software agents).

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Computer simulation, Human machine interface (HMI), Autonomous vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles