Civil use of UAS one step closer with new technology
QinetiQ recently demonstrated coordinated command and control (C2) of multiple unmanned aircraft, and their on-board mission system sensors, from a single ground station. The demonstration, at the Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Centre at Parc Aberporth, Wales, showcased the potential for improving the safety, efficiency and affordability of UAS operations and their commercial use in unsegregated airspace in the future.
As part of the ASTRAEA programme (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment), the demonstration successfully tested QinetiQ’s autonomy software and shared decision-making between the UAS and the remote pilot. The demonstration simulated possible application at major public events using two mini UAS operated by Callen-Lenz. The QinetiQ software provided continuous, optimised asset tasking, as well as individual vehicle track and sensor steering commands to both autopilots via a standard interface over a single Ethernet connection.
The autonomy software works in harness with an interactive display that shows the aircrafts’ knowledge and intent. It allows the remote pilot to verify that the behaviour is consistent with operational intentions or modify as necessary, allowing the pilot to retain absolute authority at all times. The technology is scalable to different numbers, size and class of UAS and can be implemented as an overlay to existing ground control stations.
ASTRAEA is a UK industry-led consortium focusing on the technologies, systems, facilities, procedures and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate safely and routinely in civil airspace over the United Kingdom. This will be achieved through the coordinated development and demonstration of key technologies and operating procedures required to open up the airspace to UAS. Alongside QinetiQ, the consortium includes AOS, BAE Systems, Cassidian, Cobham, Rolls-Royce and Thales.
“Our motivation is to drive the safety, utility and affordability of unmanned aircraft, particularly for the, as yet untapped, civil and commercial market” said Jeremy Howitt, the QinetiQ programme leader. “The intention is to develop the tools as ‘Apps’ that will allow any third party operator to mix-and-match autonomous capabilities to meet their individual need”.
The demonstration was co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Welsh Government under the auspices of the ASTRAEA programme.
Notes for Editors:
- ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) is a UK industry-led consortium that is aiming to enable the routine use of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in all classes of airspace without the need for restrictive or specialised conditions of operation. This will be achieved through the coordinated development and demonstration of key technologies, systems, facilities, procedures and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate safely and routinely over the United Kingdom.
- A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies.
- Follow us on twitter @QinetiQ
- Visit our blog at www.QinetiQ-blogs.com/QinetiQ
- Visit QinetiQ, stand number S3-550, at DSEi at ExCeL in London between 10th – 13th September 2013. The world’s leading defence and security event. For more information visit www.dsei.qinetiq.com
For further information, please contact
QinetiQ Press Office on Tel: +44 (0) 1252 39 3500