Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Unmanned Systems

Related to developing supervised autonomous systems

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Small-deck ships such as destroyers and frigates could greatly increase their effectiveness if they had their own unmanned air systems (UASs) to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities at long range around the clock. Current state-of-the-art UASs, however, lack the ability to take off and land from confined spaces in rough seas and achieve efficient long-duration flight. Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), seeks to provide these and other previously unattainable capabilities. As part of Tern’s ongoing progress toward that goal, DARPA has awarded Phase 3 of Tern to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
They may not have zoomed flawlessly around obstacles like the Millennium Falcon did as it careened through the hull of a crashed Star Destroyer in Star Wars VII. But the sensor-loaded quadcopters that recently got tested in a cluttered hangar in Massachusetts did manage to edge their way around obstacles and achieve their target speeds of 20 meters per second. Moreover, the quadcopters were unmanned … and real. Thus was the initial phase of data collection for DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program recently deemed an encouraging success.
Modern military engagements increasingly take place in complex and uncertain battlefield conditions where attacks can come from multiple directions at once, and in the electromagnetic spectrum and cyber domains as well. U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps dismounted infantry squads, however, have been unable to take full advantage of some highly effective multi-domain defensive and offensive capabilities that vehicle-assigned forces currently enjoy—in large part because many of the relevant technologies are too heavy and cumbersome for individual Soldiers and Marines to carry or too difficult to use under demanding field conditions.
A research effort associated with DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program recently conducted the first successful flight tests of a shoebox-sized, plug-and-play system designed to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to automatically detect nearby aircraft and avoid potential mid-air collisions. An unmanned air vehicle (UAV) repeatedly used the technology demonstration system to detect and track in real time a Cessna 172G aircraft approaching from various vertical and horizontal distances.
DARPA today is holding a christening ceremony for the technology demonstration vessel it has developed and built through the Agency’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. Taking place in Portland, Oregon, the event marks the vessel’s formal transition from a DARPA-led design and construction project to a new stage of open-water testing to be conducted jointly with the Office of Naval Research (ONR).