Wed, Apr 06, 2005
A More Natural Way To Find The Target
"For the first time in history,
autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have flown using
flocking and swarming algorithms."
So says Daniel Preston, chief executive and lead engineer for
"Flocking and Swarming" are two words used interchangeably to
refer to modeled flight that is biologically inspired by the flight
of flocking birds and swarming insects. The capability of
biological systems to autonomously maneuver, track and pursue
evasive targets in a cluttered environment is vastly superior to
any engineered system.
Atair AS is pioneering the development and implementation of
flocking and active collision avoidance algorithms on UAVs. Atair
AS' technology was first tested December 16–18 in Eloy, AZ.
where two fleets of five Onyx systems were airdropped and
successfully flocked in tight formation to target. Onyx systems are
autonomously guided parafoil systems (UAV gliders) designed to
allow military cargo to be parachuted from high altitude and
horizontal stand off and land accurately on target. Atair AS
developed the Onyx system under contract with the US Army Soldier
Systems Center - Natick. Onyx systems can be dropped at up to
35,000 ft altitude, autonomously glide for 30+ miles, and land on a
preprogrammed target—accurate to about 150 feet.
The importance of flocking and active collision avoidance
towards the application of precision resupply is critical. With
this technology multiple systems (50+) can be deployed in the same
airspace, guiding to one or multiple targets without possibility of
mid air collisions.
Atair AS' inventive technology has advanced the state of the art
in guidance and control systems. This technology will open the door
for advanced autonomous flight capabilities on a variety of UAV
platforms from fixed wing to rotorcraft, with applications from
sensor and munitions delivery to surveillance.
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