US Marines test ONR self-flying helicopter

alibhai/ December 14, 2017/ New Gadgets/ 0 comments

  • System will initially be used to resupply troops on the front line
  • Marines can call up the supplies needed and order the flights using a tablet

US Marines could soon be dropped into battle using self flying helicopters.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has revealed its first test of an autonomous helicopter.

It is hoped the system will initially be used to resupply troops on the front line – and could one day even take them into battle.

The demonstration featured a UH-1 'Huey' flying autonomously on multiple missions.

The demonstration featured a UH-1 ‘Huey’ flying autonomously on multiple missions.

‘This is more than just an unmanned helicopter,’ said Dr. Walter Jones, ONR executive director. 

‘AACUS is an autonomy kit that can be placed on any rotary-wing platform and provide it with an autonomous capability. 

‘Imagine a Marine Corps unit deployed in a remote location, in rough terrain, needing ammunition, water, batteries or even blood.

‘With AACUS, an unmanned helicopter takes the supplies from the base, picks out the optimal route and best landing site closest to the warfighters, lands, and returns to base once the resupply is complete – all with the single touch of a handheld tablet.’

The need for this capability surfaced during Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, experts say. 

Cargo helicopters and resupply convoys of trucks bringing fuel, food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to the front lines frequently found themselves under fire from adversaries—or the target of roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.

HOW THE COPTER CAN FLY ITSELF

Researchers have developed the system as a kit that can be fitted to different models of helicopter

Researchers have developed the system as a kit that can be fitted to different models of helicopter

The system consists of a sensor and software package that can be integrated into any manned or unmanned rotary-wing aircraft.

It can detect and avoid obstacles (like telephone wires, other vehicles or large ground objects) in unfavorable weather conditions, or to facilitate autonomous, unmanned flight. 

This capability will be an alternative to dangerous convoys or manned aircraft missions in all types of weather.

AACUS is designed for simple use; an operator with minimal training can call up the supplies needed and order the flights using only an intuitive handheld tablet. 

During the Dec. 13 demonstration tests at Quantico, a Marine with no prior experience with the technology was given a handheld device and 15 minutes of training.

The Marine was able to quickly and easily program in the supplies needed and the destination, and the helicopters arrived quickly—even autonomously selecting an alternative landing site based on last-second no-fly-zone information added in from the Marine. 

The demonstration featured a UH-1 ‘Huey’ flying autonomously on multiple missions.

‘We’ve developed this great capability ahead of requirements and it’s up to us to determine how to use it,’ said Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. 

‘The young Marines today have grown up in a tech-savvy society, which is an advantage. 

An operator with minimal training can call up the supplies needed and order the flights using only an intuitive handheld tablet.

An operator with minimal training can call up the supplies needed and order the flights using only an intuitive handheld tablet.

‘We’ve got to keep pushing and moving this technology forward.’

Officials say AACUS represents a leap-ahead technology for the Marine Corps and Navy, moving unmanned flights far beyond the current standard, which requires a specialized operator to select a landing site and manually control an unmanned aircraft via remote.

‘AACUS gives revolutionary capability to our fleet and force,’ said Dennis Baker, AACUS program manager. 

‘It can be used as a pilot aid to operate in GPS- and communications-denied arenas, or allow fully autonomous flights in contested environments—keeping our pilots and crews out of harm’s way.’

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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