Poland’s Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) and Lockheed Martin have successfully demonstrated their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) optimization technologies by using aerial command and control (C2) of multiple UAVs.
The demonstration marks another milestone in the joint WUT-Lockheed Martin advanced applied research program on the optimization of diverse fleets of aircraft, as well as concepts associated with manned-unmanned command and control of airborne platform systems.
“These technologies have tremendous commercial and military potential as the world moves toward greater and greater use of unmanned aerial systems,” says Prof. Janusz Narkiewicz, head of WUT’s department of automation and aeronautical systems. “Understanding how different assets can interoperate, communicate and serve common objectives with maximum efficiency is a challenging task in the growing field of UAV technologies.”
The goal of the team’s latest project was to advance previous optimization work by incorporating airborne C2, improving user interfaces and testing new methods for related subroutines. With a vision of ultimately developing adaptive approaches to the live management of a UAV fleet, the team says the work is an important contribution to the concept of manned-unmanned teaming, where manned assets operate seamlessly with surrogate UAVs – often controlling many at a time against specific tasks.
According to WUT and Lockheed, this technology demonstrates that, with the right tools, an operator may adapt to changing scenarios, calculate new solutions and deploy those solutions to a fleet of commanded aircraft, whether for civil or military purposes.
For example, the recent demonstration can be equated to a search-and-rescue task, where every minute shaved off of a search pattern could be the difference between life and death. In another instance, if UAVs were to be used to deliver small packages to consumers, the 10% to 20% performance improvement could be the competitive edge that keeps an operation in business ahead of the competition.
The program builds on an existing Poland-Lockheed Martin partnership aimed at motivating young Polish engineers to address tomorrow’s defense and industrial needs. WUT and Lockheed Martin are seeking new Polish partners to further advance Polish research and development capabilities on manned-unmanned airborne platform system integration.