The current development of particular robots for NASA represents a methodical shift in how some Lunar or Martian vehicles are designed and how the related components or systems are included to support vehicle operation. Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic are working on a lunar robot for NASA’s Lunar Surface and Instrumentation and Technology Payload program, or LSITP, that is small, fast, solar-powered and will not be teleoperated nor radiation-hardened, which is quite a change from more risk-adverse prior methods.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is handing its robotics research in adaptive autonomy to eight partners in academia and industry in what laboratory officials describe as a sprint to develop new capabilities. The Army has awarded $2.9 million in first-year funding as part of its Scalable, Adaptive and Resilient Autonomy (SARA) program to develop methods by which future Army robots can autonomously navigate rough terrain and avoid being blocked or upended by obstacles.
Penn State University Applied Research Lab, University Park, Pennsylvania, is awarded an $8,404,271 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Advanced Broadband Navigation Sonar System Future Naval Capabilities Program. This contract provides for the development and demonstration of technologies associated with continuous subsea autonomous navigation by developing and demonstrating improvements to navigational sonar systems. Improved estimation of positon and velocity afforded by advanced sonar processing will provide naval platforms with increased navigational performance for undersea platforms. Work will be performed in University Park, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be complete by March 2023.
Boeing and the U.S. Navy successfully flew two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as unmanned air systems using a third Growler as a mission controller for the other two, Boeing has announced.
The flights, conducted during the Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual fleet experiment (FLEX) exercises, proved the effectiveness of technology allowing F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to perform combat missions with unmanned systems.
BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, York, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $249,152,760 modification (P00042) to contract W56HZV-17-C-0001 for the Self-Propelled Howitzer and carrier, ammunition, tracked vehicles and their associated support under the production contract to build and deliver M109A7s and M992A3s. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of January 31, 2023. Fiscal year 2018 and 2019 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $249,152,760 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
As part of Sandia National Laboratories' quest to develop hypersonic solutions, a group of university students working at the labs this summer developed autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities for hypersonic flight systems. They tested the capabilities on unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp., Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded a $9,775,501 cost-plus fixed-fee contract for Low Cost UAS Swarm Technology Distributed Autonomy prototyping, analysis, and support. The contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of the contract to $17,441,037. Work will be performed in Atlanta, Georgia, and work is expected to be completed January 31, 2020. If options are exercised, work will continue through January 31, 2022. Fiscal year 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,061,486 are obligated at the time of award. No funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under N00014-18-S-
Applied Research Solutions, Beavercreek, Ohio, has been awarded a $38,788,878 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, plus an option amount of $5,967,447, for sensing, learning, autonomy, and knowledge engineering research and development. This contract is to conduct research and develop multi-domain technologies and strategies to orchestrate closed-loop sensing that manages knowledge from environment understanding to mission effects, across multiple missions. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and in Dayton, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by March 4, 2024. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $1,254,000 are being obligated at the time of award.
The cyber realm has redefined the meaning of warfare itself. Conflict in cyberspace is constant, low-cost and uninhibited by traditional definitions of territory and country. Now, governments, militaries and private research groups from America to South Korea are taking cyber capabilities one step further, using developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to create autonomous weapons that will soon be deployed into battle.
Machine learning already has been used in both cyber and kinetic weapons, from autonomously firing gun turrets to human-superior social engineering attacks. While these advances are noteworthy, these machines are neither entirely intelligent nor autonomous.
Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been awarded a $7,783,517 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for architecture and analysis for high-assurance autonomy software. This contract provides for the development of technologies in support of providing assurance in depth through the architecture and analysis for high-assurance autonomy integrated suite. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed by April 26, 2022. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and 34 offers were received.
While stopping weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks are high security priorities, the kinetic effects from cyber forces are a looming threat today. Malevolent uses for artificial intelligence combined with autonomous systems provide frightening new levels of capabilities to potential adversaries, and the U.S. Defense Department and the intelligence community are being called upon to address them with extraordinary vigor.
Artificial intelligence has a trust problem. While adoption is increasing in both the government and commercial sectors, artificial intelligence-infused technologies have not reached their full potential in many critical applications because their opaque nature does not give users a window into the decision-making process.
Lockheed Martin Corporation, Grand Prairie, Texas, has been awarded a $12,933,908 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Squad X Experimentation program to design, develop and validate system prototypes for a combined-arms squad. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas; Rome, New York; Menlo Park, California; Woburn, Massachusetts; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with an estimated completion date of August 14, 2019. Fiscal 2016 and 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $7,506,796 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S.
Autonomous functionality is increasing. The evidence is everywhere from drones and self-driving cars to voice-controlled devices such as IBM's Watson and Amazon’s Echo. The key to successfully transitioning to these increasingly autonomous systems for the military and defense industry is trust, said Dr. Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.
Direct feedback and technical evaluations from warfighters and senior leadership participating in an amphibious, autonomous warfare exercise could affect the way the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps look at prototyping and rapidly acquiring technology. By pairing sailors and Marines with scientists and technologists, the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (S2ME2 ANTX) will help increase the pace of innovation, says Dr. David E. Walker, director of technology, Office of Naval Research (ONR).
U.S. Navy researchers hope to advance maritime countermine technology by developing fully autonomous systems that support the service’s latest ships and doctrine. Both new threats and innovative naval systems are remaking the undersea arena in ways that render obsolete conventional countermine
Over the next decade—if not sooner—the U.S. Defense Department wants more of its military systems to operate autonomously, capable of independently determining the right course of action no matter the situation. The Defense Science Board predicts the department will get there.
Autonomous systems address several problem areas, and reasons to pursue the technology are numerous, according to a technical panel presenting this week at the MILCOM 2016 conference in Baltimore.
Every U.S. Army soldier in 2040 may have a personal robot. It also is possible that autonomous systems will carry heavy loads, establish ad hoc mesh networks, act as communications retransmission stations, file spot reports on enemy forces and be the first to engage adversaries on the battlefield.
PreTalen Limited, Columbus Grove, Ohio, has been awarded a $15 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, small-business innovation research phase III contract for position navigation and time autonomous negotiator applying cognitive effects-based analysis. The contractor will provide the extension of the suite of custom software and hardware designed to simultaneously and autonomously test available Global Navigation Satellite System receivers across the threat spectrum. Work will be performed in Columbus Grove, Ohio, and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by August 9, 2020. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition.