Defense

June 21, 2013

Cost-saving pilot programs to support war fighter autonomy

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

A call from the Defense Department to government labs for autonomous technology ideas that support the war fighter has been answered with seven initiatives.

Chosen from more than 50 submissions, the selected ideas will be tested in the Autonomy Research Pilot Initiative, officials said.

“We believe autonomy and autonomous systems will be very important for how we operate in the future,î said Al Shaffer, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. Autonomous systems are capable of functioning with little or no human input or supervision.

ìIf we had better autonomous systems for route clearance in Afghanistan, we could offload a lot of the dangerous missions that humans undertake with autonomous systems, so we have to make a big push in autonomy,” Shaffer said.

The pilot research initiativeís goal is to advance technologies that will result in autonomous systems that provide more capability to warfighters, lessen the cognitive load on operators and supervisors, and lower overall operational cost, explained Jennifer Elzea, a DOD spokeswoman.

The potential cross-cutting advances of this initiative in multiple domains provide an exciting prospect for interoperability among the military services, and potentially [in] meeting future acquisitions requirements,î she said. ìThe seven projects are at the fundamental cutting edge of the science of autonomy. The projects also integrate several scientific disciplines [such as] neurology [and] mimetics.

The seven projects are not looking at autonomous weapons systems, but rather are investigating autonomous systems for potential capabilities such as sensing and coordination among systems, Elzea noted.

The projects focus on cost savings to DOD, critical in a time of budget cuts, Shaffer said.

The program for the initiatives is estimated to cost about $45 million in a three-year period, which is not considered to be a lot of money for a government research program, DOD officials said.

“We are trying to — especially as we go through this tough budget period — incentivize our younger work force,î Shaffer said. ìScientists work to solve problems, and what we are doing with this project is we’ve challenged our in-house researchers to come up with topics that will help us better understand how to do autonomous systems.”

When the pilot initiatives are completed, DOD will have the intellectual property to generate a prototype or to provide to industry to produce the systems, officials said.

The seven initiatives are:

  • Exploiting Priming Effects in Autonomous Cognitive Systems: Develops machine perception that is relatable to the way a human perceives an environment. (Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence, Army Research Laboratory)
  • Autonomous Squad Member: Integrates machine semantic understanding, reasoning and understanding, perception into a ground robotic system. (Army Research Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence)
  • Autonomy for Adaptive Collaborative Sensing: Develops intelligent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability for sensing platforms to have capability to find and track targets. (Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory; Naval Research Laboratory)
  • Realizing Autonomy via Intelligent Adaptive Hybrid Control: Develops flexible unmanned aerial vehicle operator interface, enabling the operator to “call a play” or manually control the system. (Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory)
  • Autonomy for Air Combat Missions, Mixed Human/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Teams: Develops goal-directed reasoning, machine learning and operator interaction techniques to enable management of multiple team UAVs. (Air Force Research Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Air Warfare Center, Army Research Laboratory)
  • A Privileged Sensing Network-Revolutionizing Human-Autonomy Integration: Develops integrated human sensing capability to enable the human-machine team. (Army Research Laboratory, Army Tank Automotive Research Center, Air Force Research Laboratory)
  • Autonomous Collective Defeat of Hard and Deeply Buried Targets: Develops small UAV teaming algorithms to enable systems to autonomously search a cave. (Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, Defense Threat Reduction Agency)



All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>