Unmanned Systems

DCS is enabling government adoption of manned–unmanned teams of ground, air, and space systems for Air Force, Army, and Space Force customers. We have developed advanced operator interfaces for multiple facets of manned-unmanned teams, including pilot-centric and supervisory control interfaces to work with current and next-generation autonomous vehicles. We have also developed the autonomous systems software employed by these interfaces, supporting command and control of multiple heterogeneous teams of unmanned vehicles to achieve varied missions in near-peer adversarial environments. These technologies have been extensively flight tested, enabling the advancement and adoption of autonomous systems technologies across multiple services.

DCS performs control station research and development of architecture, tools, and autonomy initiatives to enhance operator performance and enable one human operator to control multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). We plan and lead flight test programs involving unmanned and manned aircraft to evaluate system development concepts. For example, DCS served as the overall Air Force Sentinel Hawk test lead and was responsible for software in the loop, hardware in the loop, ground, and airborne testing of the system including its datalinks. For the Navy, we support the MQ-25 (unmanned aerial refueling) program and MQ-4C Triton (reconnaissance) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) among others through the common control system IPT.

We support prototyping of ground vehicle robotics and autonomy for both large and small UGVs. We have supported projects like robotic wingman, which uses autonomous vehicles paired with a manned-vehicle. The UGV is equipped with a vast array of sensors to scout in advance of the manned vehicle and when necessary provide remote gunnery options to help protect troops. Similarly, we have developed other UGV capabilities to provide autonomous convoy and resupply capability demonstrations to minimize or remove humans from situations where Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat.

DCS has expertise in integration of UAVs and UGVs into cooperative roles. DCS supports the Army Robotic Vehicle Control Architecture activities where we developed real-time simulations of Class 1 UAV and a Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). The UAV dynamics model and SUGV simulation were integrated into the embedded simulation system to support various simulation activities of the Brigade Combat Team Modernization’s Common Controller program. We document the software, hardware, and integration of four Robotic Enhancement Program (REP) systems. We procured the radios, control systems, UAVs, and small robots (small UGVs) for demonstration under REP, and tested cooperation and control of the combined systems in various locations and terrains.

DCS is working several Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) efforts for AFRL & CCDC (formerly AMRDEC). We are developing autonomous tools to enable a single operator to control multiple heterogeneous unmanned vehicles. IST Human Systems Engineers have built an intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) for effective human-autonomy teaming. IST validated autonomous tools in simulated air assault and base defense missions with Army pilots, other Army operators, and Air Force Unmanned Vehicle operators. IST’s autonomy experts and software engineers have implemented HMI designs, autonomy algorithms, and decision aiding solutions to support the operator in these tasks. The results improved performance and rated better compared to a current state-of-the-art system.

DCS is also an integral part of US Army’s Manned-Unmanned Teaming research related to the Next Generation Combat Vehicle. DCS has been key part of research team of CCDC ARL’s Human Autonomy Teaming research initiative, as well as CCDC GVSC’s Crew Optimization and Automation Technologies program. DCS roles in these has involved development of the human in the loop and software in the loop experiment capabilities at both ARL, to enable investigation of multiple-crew manned, and multiple unmanned vehicle operations. DCS has also been integral to the human subject experiment design and data analysis. Additionally, DCS develops and integrates manned and unmanned vehicle control interfaces for the experimental prototypes of Manned Fighting Vehicle and the Robotic Combat Vehicle.

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