BAE integrates flying, crawling robots

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 15 May 2008

British defence multinational BAE Systems scientists have taken robotics to a new level by operating multiple flying and crawling robots at the same time from the same set of controls.

The company tied two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and two unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to show how these robots will, in future, be able to work under the command of a number of battlefield commanders to deliver vital reconnaissance and surveillance information to front-line troops.

BAE Systems Capability Augmentation manager Andy Wright says the demonstration employed two UGVs and two UAVs. It showed how the devices can pass information between themselves and their command centres, while allowing control of the vehicles to be passed between different command systems in real-time.

Wright says the ability to seamlessly pass control of unmanned vehicles between different stations is "vitally important" on the modern battlefield.

The demonstration used systems and software technology from across BAE Systems, including Aerosystems International, BAE Systems Australia, Integrated System Technologies, Electronic & Information Systems and Military Air Solutions.

It allowed researchers to examine the technological challenges of managing multiple unmanned vehicles in a manned environment, de-conflicting UAV flight paths and planning and re-planning missions based on new mission goals and threats.

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