Military Embedded Systems

UASs demonstrate autonomy and collaboration with minimal human interface


November 30, 2018

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

UASs demonstrate autonomy and collaboration with minimal human interface
Artists's concept: DARPA

U.S ARMY, YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona. In a recent test series at Yuma Proving Ground, the in Arizona, the Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA?) demonstrated the ability of CODE-equipped unmanned aerial systems (UASs) to adapt and respond to unexpected threats in an antiaccess area denial (A2AD) environment.


According to information from DARPA, the UASs efficiently shared information, cooperatively planned and allocated mission objectives, made coordinated tactical decisions, and collaboratively reacted to a dynamic, high-threat environment with minimal communication.

During testing, the UASs initially operated under a supervisory mission commander; when communications were degraded or denied, CODE vehicles retained the intent to accomplish mission objectives without human direction. DARPA offcials say that the ability for CODE-enabled vehicles to interact when communications are degraded is an important step toward the program's stated goal of conducting conduct dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in contested or denied battlespace.

“The test series expanded on previously demonstrated approaches to low-bandwidth collaborative sensing and onboard planning. It demonstrated the ability to operate in more challenging scenarios, where both communications and GPS navigation were denied for extended periods,” said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA program manager for CODE.

The agency believes that CODE’s scalable capabilities could greatly enhance the survivability, flexibility, and effectiveness of existing air platforms and will development time and cost of future systems.

DARPA will continue on further development of CODE and associated infrastructure until the conclusion of the program in spring 2019; full transition of the CODE software repository will then go to Naval Air Systems Command.


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