Agility Prime (X20.D) : GPS-denied Orbs with Bandwidth Limited Intelligent Navigation Solutions (GOBLINS)
We will provide a turn-key assured networking, sense/avoid, and GPS-denied navigation capability for future Orbs, which are inherently distributed that will enable highly automated and/or fully autonomous teams to operate within challenging environments (e.g., congested, contested, and degraded conditions). To do this, we will combine state-of-the-art network assurance capabilities developed by the UC RISC laboratory and AFIT ANT with commercial grade low-bandwidth communication, sense/avoid, and navigation systems developed by OptoKnowledge.
At the low-level, we will provide 360-degree sense/avoid via the Stereo Obstacle Avoidance Rig (SOAR) capability developed for the Army, Navy, and NASA by OptoKnowledge (flown on OH-58C, sUAS; UH-60 flight(s) in scheduling). Frank Dellaert who co-developed the Skydio drone was a member of the OptoKnowledge SOAR team. SOAR will enable coordinated flight and terrain/obstacle avoidance for platforms.
Next, we will implement real-time Video-Aided Navigation Systems (VANS) with absolute navigation within GPS-denied environments for each individual drone. VANS operates by coregistering aerial images to cached georegistered satellite imagery to extract absolute pose. VANS has been flown on 120-mm mortars (HEGM program), Cessna platform(s), sUAS platform(s), and will soon fly on an 81-mm mortar (for SOCOM). For autonomous coordination, we will apply the Cognitive Adaptive Mission Optimization (CAMO) which uses AI to provide distributed task assignment, routing, and mission oversight. The CAMO solution has been demonstrated in real-time flight controlling teams of sUAS as well as up to Group 3 UAS to date (e.g., a team of RQ-23 Tiger Shark UAS platforms). The combination of these tools will provide sense/avoid, GPS-denied navigation, and autonomous decision-making capabilities.
Our team will then implement a multi-vehicle estimation approach developed at the UC RISC Laboratory, which will enhance the capabilities of all platforms in the system via distributed data fusion. The final capability to be implemented into our system will be our heterogeneous and asynchronous measurement capable navigation integrity solution developed at the AFIT ANT Center, known as ARMAS. The GOBLINS system created through the above will be a significant enabler of Orbs in the future battlefield environments in which GPS and communication may be degraded or denied and for use by the civilian Orb ecosystem in urban canyons and other GPS-denied areas.