Military Embedded Systems

Autonomy capabilities to be provided to Squad X program

News

June 03, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Associate Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo courtesy of DARPA.

BETHESDA, Md. Squad X prime contractor Lockheed Martin has awarded BAE Systems a contract to provide key autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities that aim to advance the effectiveness of tactical robotic air and ground vehicles and create true partnerships between ground warfighters and machines at the small-unit level.

The goal of DARPA’s Squad X, which is composed of the complementary Squad X Experimentation and (the now completed) Squad X Core Technologies programs, is to design, develop, and validate autonomous system prototypes and equip them with novel sensing tools and off-the-shelf technologies. The technologies aim to increase squads’ situational awareness, while the autonomous systems allow squads to increase their battlespace and area of influence.  

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development organization will provide Mission Intelligence for Tactical Systems (MITS) advanced sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, and autonomy. MITS is highly automated and is designed to direct mobile robots and their sensor payloads while reducing the cognitive load on its partner warfighters.

MITS fuses sensor data, constructs, and shares battlefield awareness with its human squadmates, and provides tactical electronic and kinetic support to the squad as it maneuvers and engages enemy positions. MITS-synthesized awareness informs human decision making in complex, time-critical combat situations, and directs continuous autonomous robotic tasking.