Military Embedded Systems

New, FACE-compliant airborne autonomy system demonstrated by Navy, Lockheed Martin


April 07, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. Engineers at Lockheed Martin and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) completed a demonstration of an unmanned rotorcraft completing an autonomous approach and landing in an unprepared environment via the OPTIMUS mission system from Lockheed Martin. The system improves the aircraft's onboard intelligence enabling it to have advanced mission planning capability that can then be applied to current and future unmanned rotary wing aircraft. It does so by using an open architecture set up for Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) compliance.

The Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) demonstration tested the OPTIMUS ssytem aboard a K-MAX unmanned helicopter. During the demonstration, an active duty Marine interfaced with the OPTIMUS system's handheld flight control device to finish a resupply mission. The system then planned, routed and executed the specific mission without needing user input.

FACE compliance enables additional mission modules to be added or removed without expensive overhauls to the system, according to Lockheed Martin officials.

The OPTIMUS system adds a multi-layer world model and active sensor control to improve onboard perception and understanding for any missions where operators have limited or no knowledge of the target location.


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