unmanned systems

February 11, 2013
By Max Cacas

Earthbound technologies and computer programming that make most popular video games possible are driving development of the remote-controlled robots now in use by NASA in the unmanned exploration of Mars and the solar system. Those improvements in both hardware and software also spur innovation in the next generation of robots envisioned for use by government and industry. That is important because NASA recently has proposed a new, multiyear program of sending robot explorers to Mars, culminating in the launch of another large scientific rover in the year 2020.

February 1, 2013
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.
The Gorgon Stare sensor system is being mounted in Afghanistan on USAF/General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This system from Exelis and Sierra Nevada Corporation can zoom in on and transmit up to 64 different images to soldiers on the ground.

Industry opens up an array of real-time imaging

Sweeping advances in sensor technologies are enabling wide-area airborne persistent surveillance on both manned and unmanned aircraft. Emerging sensor systems can provide high-resolution mosaic imagery for large swaths of the battlefield while focusing on individual objects.

These intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor systems are winning their spurs on the battlefield in Afghanistan. They are meeting combat commanders’ urgent operational requirements to provide city-size area coverage. These sensors simultaneously can focus on and track individual vehicles and dismounted hostiles.

November 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

Unmanned underwater vehicles mimic nature and collaborate on tasks.

Robotics experts are using the swarming behavior of insects and fish as a model for software that will operate the next generation of underwater robots. Fleets of robots not only will be able to navigate to a common goal, but they also will have the means to deal autonomously with unanticipated factors, much as insects and fish can change behaviors based on the circumstances.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Northrop Grumman Corporation's X-47B is one contender for the U.S. Navy's carrier-based UAV program. The program is important to industry because it is currently the only large UAV platform being developed by the U.S. military.

The next five years will be as exciting as the last decade--but in a different way.

Unmanned vehicles will undergo an array of changes in the coming years brought about by the war in Afghanistan winding down, budgets tightening and the national strategy shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Adjustments may include the retirement of some unmanned air systems, a stronger focus on refining existing unmanned planes rather than fielding new ones and increased research and development of land and maritime technologies.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
The Ground Based Sense and Avoid System will allow military operators to fly unmanned aircraft in the same airspace as commercial aircraft so that warfighters can train and prepare for the next conflict.

A new crash avoidance 
system will allow both 
manned and unmanned
 planes to operate 
in U.S. airspace. 

The U.S. Army is developing a collision avoidance system that will allow unmanned and manned aircraft to fly in the same airspace more easily and safely. The first-of-its kind system will enable service operators returning from the war zone to fly drones in the same U.S. skies as civilian aircraft, keeping the warfighters proficient and ready for the next conflict.

May 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

 

A U.S. Air Force remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies over the desert in this artist’s concept. Increasingly capable RPAs will constitute a significant number of aircraft in the future Air Force arsenal.

Seat of the pants may give way to fit of the chip.

May 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

 

The Mind’s Eye program takes intelligence gathering to the next level. The system would be placed on an unmanned ground vehicle or on a pole, would recognize certain activity, then determine if the actions are suspicious. Fifteen research teams are tasked with creating visual intelligence that can interpret 48 verbs.

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

 

Developed by Inspector Bots, the Mega Hurtz prototype can be armed with a variety of nonlethal weapons.

Weaponized robots are poised for potential proliferation on the battlefield.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Rita Boland

 

Depiction of Boeing Company’s Phantom Ray technology demonstrator, which will serve as a testbed for advanced unmanned aircraft systems.

Private development will offer a chance to explore experimental capabilities.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

July 2007
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

July 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

 
The unmanned sea surface
vehicle–high tow force (USSV-HTF), one of the unmanned surface vehicles being developed at the Carderock Division Detachment, Naval Surface Warfare Center, takes part in an operation off the east coast of the United States.
Designers take on maritime operational environment challenges.

July 2007
By Rita Boland

 
The unmanned sea surface vehicle–high tow force (USSV–HTF) is designed to work specifically with the littoral combat ship (LCS). It is intended to tow various sensors and effectors.
Boats will operate in littoral waters and rivers to protect people and assets.

June 2006
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

May 2006
By Rita Boland

 
Concept art illustrates what the Revolutionary Approach to Time-critical Long Range Strike (RATTLRS) might look like from a fighter jet platform. RATTLRS weapons will reach speeds of at least Mach 3.
Development team will test the high-speed system starting next fiscal year.

March 2006
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

March 2006
By Henry S. Kenyon

March 2006
By Rita Boland

 

Fuel cells may one day be used to power small surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Fuel-cell-powered UAVs could support longer missions than current power alternatives allow.
Photograph courtesy of European Communities.

Benchmark tests pave way for longer surveillance missions.

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