Scientific Systems Company, Inc. Awarded Contract from DARPA for Development of Fast Lightweight Autonomy for UAVs

October 26, 2015 by  

In an effort to further expand military capabilities in complex urban environments, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program is pushing the boundaries of what UAVs are able to accomplish in those very same scenarios. With the help of SSCI’s Rapid ADVANCE team, the autonomy software being developed is bringing a fresh approach to reactive navigation in order to assist small combat units.

For Immediate Release – September 25, 2015

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) announces it has been awarded a contract from the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop autonomous visual control systems for small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) operating in cluttered outdoor and indoor environments without GPS or human operator assistance.

DARPA-FLA-MissionGraphic

SSCI’s Rapid Adaptive preDiction for Vision-based Autonomous Navigation and Evasion program (Rapid ADVANCE) is based on a fundamentally new approach to reactive navigation, resulting in very low size, weight, and power requirements for use on small UAVs. Under the direction of Dr. N. Andrew Browning, the SSCI project is part of DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. The aim of this program is to develop and demonstrate the capability for small and fast (20 m/s) UAVs to fly autonomously through complex, cluttered environments. DARPA selected SSCI and two other teams to develop advanced autonomy software – specifically focusing on sensing, perception, planning, and control using commercially available components. The UAV platform is the same for all teams, putting emphasis on comparative performance of the sensing and control systems.

Dr. Raman Mehra, founder and CEO of SSCI notes “Our products provide the brains and nervous systems for unmanned vehicles to operate autonomously and accomplish their missions in difficult environments.” The Rapid ADVANCE project is a prime example of SSCI development capabilities. SSCI selected AeroVironment as a teaming partner for this two-year program, bringing AeroVironment’s capabilities in small UAV flight dynamics and control. Algorithms developed under this program impact a wide range of unmanned systems by reducing the size, weight, and power requirements of the autonomy system, eliminating remote control wireless links, and navigating through unknown, complex, cluttered environments without GPS.

About Scientific Systems Company, Inc.

Since 1976 Scientific Systems Company Inc. (SSCI) has engineered intelligent control systems for defense and commercial applications. SSCI is a leading innovator performing research and technology development for various DoD agencies. SSCI is a provider of advanced mission planning software, mature image-based navigation systems for GPS-denied environments on a wide variety of platforms, and developer of mine detection systems for the U.S. Army. For more information, contact (781) 933-5355 or info@ssci.com.

Reference: DARPA FLA Press Release

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