SSCI Appoints Dr. Owen Brown as Vice President of Research and Development

January 25, 2017 by  

Meet the new Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Owen Brown. Learn how his operational military experience and lasting contributions to the nation’s space operations will propel SSCI forward to lift autonomy and intelligent distribution systems to new heights.

WOBURN, Mass., Jan. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Scientific Systems Company, Inc., an industry leader and pioneer in advanced intelligent and autonomous systems, announced today that Dr. Owen Brown has joined the company as Vice President of Research and Development. He will be responsible for the strategic development, implementation, and oversight of all new programs in autonomy, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, advanced GNC, and data science. He will be responsible for operations in the National Capital Region. Dr. Brown brings a background of proven leadership, program management excellence, game-changing innovation, and operational military experience.

As a former Program Manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Brown developed, and managed radically innovative and highly successful space systems for national defense. His fractionation concept of autonomous and distributed networks of space systems, which led to DARPA’s System F6 program, has influenced future space architectures worldwide. His leadership in a fast paced multiple spacecraft demonstration program has had a lasting impact on the nation’s space operations. In addition, he led the SPHERES formation flying experiment initiative, which is based in the International Space Station. After his DARPA tour, Dr. Brown served as the Chief Technology Officer for KTSi and, after sale of the company, transitioned to provide technology and policy leadership for SAIC. Recently he completed service as a member of the Space Defense and Protection committee for the National Academies of Science. He is a former nuclear submarine officer with operational experience on fast attack submarines. Brown retired from the US Navy Reserve after providing operational support for P-3 anti-submarine aircraft and then acquisition support as an Engineering Duty Officer. He holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.

“Owen brings a proven track record of creating disruptive technical concepts, managing their development, and delivering them to the warfighter, scientist, and other customers,” said Scientific Systems CEO Dr. Raman Mehra. “We welcome him to the Scientific Systems team at an exciting time, when our company’s portfolio of capabilities in autonomy and intelligent distributed systems is enabling the Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, and other government customers not only keep pace with the rapid pace of technological change, but to be the creators of that change.”

“Scientific Systems is leading the way in the development of the core autonomous and intelligent system technologies that are becoming the enabling foundation for national defense and intelligence systems, scientific exploration, and civil agency support,” said Brown. “In the commercial world, these technologies will revolutionize the way each person goes about their daily lives.  I’m very excited to part of an incredibly capable team of scientists and engineers who are dedicated to their work.”

About Scientific Systems Company Inc.

Since 1976 Scientific Systems Company Inc. (SSCI) has been developing the brains and nervous system for manned and unmanned vehicles to operate autonomously and accomplish their missions in difficult environments for defense and commercial applications. Based in Woburn, MA, SSCI is a leading innovator in performing research and technology development for various NASA and US DoD agencies. SSCI is a provider of intelligent and autonomous software systems for land, sea, air, and space systems, GPS-denied navigation systems, fusion, tracking and sensor management technologies, collaborative and adversarial autonomy, mission planning systems, and a variety of revolutionary signal processing systems. For more information, visit www.ssci.com or contact SSCI at (781) 933-5355 or info@ssci.com.

Media Contact:
Pat McLaughlin
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The Economist magazine highlights SSCI’s GPS-denied navigation solution, ImageNav

December 6, 2016 by  

Despite their successful implementation during the first Gulf War, map-based-cruise-missile-guidance systems eventually gave way to the more advanced and affordable approach that GPS provided.  But critical dependencies with GPS are now motivating some to give map-based guidance systems a double take.  Enter SSCI’s ImageNav, which looks to usher in a new generation of smart weapons with even greater precision and reliability.

economist-SSCI

By The Economist

Bombs that can recognise their targets are back in fashion

A new generation of smart weapons is in development

IT IS easy to forget, given the ubiquity of satellite-navigation devices in cars and mobile phones, that the Global Positioning System (GPS) of orbiting satellites on which they rely was originally—and, indeed, remains—a military technology. The system is, for instance, relied upon by the JDAM (joint direct-attack munition) kits that America’s air force attaches to its free-fall bombs to turn them into smart weapons that can be guided with precision to their targets.

But JDAM and similar systems work only when they can receive signals from GPS satellites. And such signals are weak—approximately as powerful as a standard television transmission would be if the transmitter were five times as far away as the Moon is. They are thus easily jammed. For obvious reasons, details of the capabilities of jammers are hard to come by, but a Russian system called Pole-21, for instance, may be able to suppress GPS signals as much as 80km (50 miles) away.

One way to get around this—and to guide weapons automatically to their targets without relying on satellites—is to give weapons a map. That has been done in the past. The cruise-missile guidance systems which came to public attention in 1991, during the first Gulf war, worked in this way. But it was the Gulf war that also saw the first large-scale use of GPS by ground troops, and it is GPS, cheaper and simpler than map-based guidance, that has subsequently dominated the business of automatic navigation. Until now, that is. For the world’s armed forces are looking again at giving their bombs and missiles map-reading capabilities.

Where the hell are we?

America’s original map-based cruise-missile guidance system came in two parts. The first, Terrain Contour Matching or TERCOM, took a missile to the general area of its target using a radar altimeter and a series of digital maps that showed the elevation of the ground under sections of the planned route. By comparing the missile’s actual altitude above this terrain with its expected altitude, TERCOM could follow contours and find its way. Once it was close to the target, a second system, the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC), compared the view from a video camera with a set of stored images, in order to locate the bullseye.

Such a combined system was awkward and expensive, but at least it was the best available before GPS. Now, though, huge improvements in electronics have turned the tables. Israel is in the forefront, with a system which it calls Spice. Like JDAM, Spice is an add-on kit that turns unguided bombs into smart ones. It is designed and built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli weapons company, and comes into service this month.

Spice contains an “electro-optical scene matching system” that resembles DSMAC’s in as much as its memory is loaded with pictures of the target area, taken beforehand by aircraft (piloted or unpiloted) or by satellite. Spice’s pictures, though, are of much higher resolution than those of DSMAC. On top of this the cameras that generate the real-time images with which those pictures are compared as the bomb falls towards its target work both in the visible and the infra-red parts of the spectrum. That means Spice can operate in darkness, and can penetrate smoke and fog. Moreover, unlike DSMAC, Spice stores enough data to cover the entire route to a target. It has no need of an accompanying system similar to TERCOM. Instead, it picks out and compares, en route, features like roads and buildings to find its way.

Spice’s claimed performance is impressive. Rafael says it can guide a bomb released 100km from a target to a strike point within two metres of that target. The firm says, too, that its device is not confused by minor changes in the scenery around a target, which it can find even if some nearby areas have been obscured—say, by camouflage. Spice also has the advantage over GPS-guided weapons of working when a target’s exact position is unknown, or if the co-ordinates have been misreported. All you need is a picture of what is to be hit, and an approximate location, for Spice to find and hit it.

Other countries, in particular America, are following Israel’s lead. In January of this year, America’s air force signed a contract with Scientific Systems, a firm in Woburn, Massachusetts, to develop what that company calls its Image-Based Navigation and Precision Targeting (ImageNav) system. Like Spice, this is a bolt-on system that works by comparing images from a camera with those in a database on board. If all goes well, development and testing should be completed by January 2018 and the result will, its makers hope, be able to strike within three metres of its intended target. The initial plan is to fit ImageNav to the air force’s Small Diameter Bomb, a free-fall weapon at present guided by GPS. If this is successful, deployment on cruise missiles and drones will follow.

Meanwhile Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest aerospace firm, is working on an optical-navigation system called Northstar. This is based on a piece of non-military software called Hydra Fusion, which was developed by Lockheed Martin’s Canadian subsidiary. Hydra Fusion creates a high-resolution, three-dimensional terrain map from ordinary video, by comparing successive frames of that video in light of information about how fast the vehicle carrying the camera was travelling. Though this is a trick which has been managed in the past, Hydra can do it on the fly, on a laptop computer. Previous systems have required hours of processing on high-end machines.

Once an area has been mapped, Northstar provides precise navigation information for bombs or missiles (or, indeed, for manned or unmanned aircraft). Crucially, the intelligence can be fresh because of the system’s rapid processing time.

Fitting bombs and missiles with vision in this way thus looks like the future. That does not mean GPS will not be used as well—a belt-and-braces approach is often wise in war. But bombs that can see their targets, rather than blindly following their noses to a set of co-ordinates, are always likely to have the edge.

This article appeared in the Science and technology section of the print edition under the headline “The vision thing.” To be taken to the original article, please click here.

 

SSCI is developing algorithms for swarming UAVs to counter anti-access/area denial environments

December 6, 2016 by  

SSCI is one of six companies assisting the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with their Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program, which aims to use swarms of UAVs working cohesively under hostile environments to collect and transmit real-time information about targets to a single mission supervisor.

UAV-swarms

By International Defence, Security, & Technology

Most of the current inventory of Unmanned Aerial Systems is not well-matched against more technologically advanced enemies who present higher levels of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum and re-locatable targets, according to DARPA. Drones, which currently are flown individually, “are operated by large crews,” “This is expensive and incompatible with an organic system able to react quickly to a dynamic situation.”

Anti-access /Area denial is a set of overlapping military capabilities and operations designed to slow the deployment of U.S. forces to a region, reduce the tempo of those forces once there, and deny the freedom of action necessary to achieve military objectives . “A2/AD capabilities enabled by integrated air defense systems that include advanced fighters, advanced surface-to-air missiles, active and passive cuing systems, and directed energy weapons” make many U.S. fixed facilities vulnerable to attack in ways hard to imagine a decade ago, according to Harry Foster from National Defense University.

UAV Swarms is emerging enabling technology that could prove revolutionary for defeating A2/AD Strategies. These swarms can find, fix, and communicate precise target location of ground, sea, and air targets; they can serve as weapons platforms to attack air defense systems from multiple axes; or they can pass missile targeting data to any platform carrying a counter air missile.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will seek a $582.7 billion Fiscal Year 2017 budget that includes research and development spending on a new “arsenal plane,” swarming autonomous micro drones, and “gun-based” missile defense. The Pentagon seeks to spend $71.4 billion on research and development in the budget, Carter told The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

One of the projects being pursued by the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), is developing swarming, autonomous vehicles that will operate as groups in multiple domains. “In the air they’ve developed micro drones that are really fast, really resistant,” Carter said. “They can fly through heavy winds and be kicked out the back of a fighter jet moving at Mach 0.9, like they did during an operational exercise in Alaska last year, or they can be thrown into the air by a soldier in the middle of the Iraqi desert.” The miniature drones make use of some commercial and 3D-printed components, he added.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work outlined the pillars of the “third offset strategy,” a plan to develop the technologies that will maintain the American military’s technological superiority. “United States would need to make progress in five key areas: autonomous “deep learning” systems, human-machine collaboration, assisted-human operations, advanced human-machine teaming, and semi-autonomous weapons, “he further said.

 

DARPA programme to explore Offensive swarming operations (OFFSET)

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has commenced a project to explore how swarms of robots could be used to operate alongside army and marine units at the company level and below.

OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) seeks to dramatically increase the effectiveness of small-unit combat forces operating in urban environments by developing and demonstrating 100+ operationally relevant swarm tactics that could be used by groups of unmanned air and/or ground systems numbering more than 100 robots.

These swarm tactics for large teams of unmanned assets would help improve force protection, firepower, precision effects, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. OFFSET plans to offer frequent opportunities for engagement with anticipated end users in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps and would share successfully tested swarm tactics with them on a rolling basis.

DARPA is also reaching out to industry to help it build a game-based open architecture system to test swarm drone tactics in cities. Creating an open architecture system allows small businesses more opportunities to help DARPA develop swarm tactics for unmanned systems. DARPA also emphasized their interested in rapid development prototyping projects as part of their OFFSET program. Rapid development prototyping often times means quicker acquisition programs, which means more opportunities for startups.

 

DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment program (CODE)

The U.S. military’s investments in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proven invaluable for missions ranging from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to tactical strike, but most current systems demand continuous control by a dedicated pilot and sensor operator supported by numerous telemetry-linked analysts. This requirement severely limits the scalability and cost-effectiveness of UAS operations and compounds the operational challenges posed by dynamic, remote engagements against highly mobile targets in contested electromagnetic environments.

DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program aims to overcome these limitations with new algorithms and software for existing unmanned aircraft that would extend mission capabilities and improve U.S. forces’ ability to conduct operations in denied or contested airspace.

CODE intends to focus in particular on developing and demonstrating improvements in collaborative autonomy—the capability of groups of UAS to work together under a single person’s supervisory control. The unmanned vehicles would continuously evaluate themselves and their environment and present recommendations for UAV team actions to the mission supervisor who would approve, disapprove or direct the team to collect more data.

 

CODE Phase 2

DARPA is planning to develop UAS swarm capability under its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment program (CODE). DARPA recently awarded Phase 2 system integration contracts for CODE to Lockheed Martin Corporation (Orlando, Fla.) and the Raytheon Company (Tucson, Ariz.). Further, the following six companies—all of which had Phase 1 contracts with DARPA to develop supporting technologies for CODE—will collaborate in various ways with the two prime contractors:

  • Daniel H. Wagner Associates (Hampton, Va.)
  • Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (Woburn, Mass.)
  • Smart Information Flow Technologies, LLC (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Soar Technology, Inc. (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • SRI International (Menlo Park, Calif.)
  • Vencore Labs dba Applied Communication Sciences (Basking Ridge, N.J.)

 

“During Phase 1, we successfully demonstrated, in simulation, the potential value of collaborative autonomy among UASs at the tactical edge, and worked with our performers to draft transition plans for possible future operational systems,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, DARPA program manager. “Between the two teams, we have selected about 20 autonomous behaviors that would greatly increase the mission capabilities of our legacy UASs and enable them to perform complex missions in denied or contested environments in which communications, navigation, and other critical elements of the targeting chain are compromised. We have also made excellent progress in the human-system interface and open-architecture framework.”

CODE’s prototype human-system interface (HSI) is designed to allow a single person to visualize, supervise, and command a team of unmanned systems in an intuitive manner. Mission commanders can know their team’s status and tactical situation, see pre-planned and alternative courses of action, and alter the UASs’ activities in real time.

For example, the mission commander could pick certain individual UASs from a team, circle them on the command station display, say “This is Group 1,” circle another part of the map, and say “Group 1 search this area.” The software then creates a sub-team with the circled UASs, divides up the search task among those assets, and redistributes the original tasks assigned to Group 1 assets to the remaining UASs. This capability significantly simplifies the command and control of large groups of UASs. Other parts of the HSI research focused on how to display the new plan, including potential impact on other mission objectives, and—depending on pre-set mission rules—either directly executes the plan or waits for the commander’s approval to act

Using collaborative autonomy, CODE-equipped UASs would perform their mission by sharing data, negotiating assignments, and synchronizing actions and communications among team members and with the commander. CODE’s modular open software architecture on board the UASs would enable multiple CODE-equipped unmanned aircraft to navigate to their destinations and find, track, identify, and engage targets under established rules of engagement. The UASs could also recruit other CODE-equipped UASs from nearby friendly forces to augment their own capabilities and adapt to dynamic situations such as attrition of friendly forces or the emergence of unanticipated threats.

“Further, CODE aims to decrease the reliance of these systems on high-bandwidth communication and deep crew bench while expanding the potential spectrum of missions through combinations of assets—all at lower overall costs of operation. These capabilities would greatly enhance survivability and effectiveness of existing air platforms in denied environments.”

CODE’s envisioned improvements to collaborative autonomy would help transform UAS operations from requiring multiple operators for each UAS to having one mission commander simultaneously directing all of the unmanned vehicles required for the mission. Commanders could mix and match different systems with specific capabilities to suit individual missions instead of depending on a single UAS with integrated capabilities, the loss of which would be potentially catastrophic. This flexibility could significantly increase the mission- and cost-effectiveness of legacy assets, reduce development times and costs for future systems, and enable new deployment concepts.

“Just as wolves hunt in coordinated packs with minimal communication, multiple CODE-enabled unmanned aircraft would collaborate to find, track, identify and engage targets, all under the command of a single human mission supervisor,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, DARPA program manager.

CODE researchers seek to create a modular software architecture beyond the current state of the art that is resilient to bandwidth limitations and communications disruptions yet compatible with existing standards and amenable to affordable retrofit into existing platforms.

CODE program aims to develop open architecture, algorithms for collaboration and autonomy functions that will bolster UAS scalability, cost effectiveness, interoperability and operational capability and expand UAS operations in hostile environments, according to DARPA.

 

Challenge of enhancing endurance of Swarms

To make the swarm a reality, the Pentagon would need to invest in smaller unmanned systems, they also need to bring long endurance and persistence, which means the ability to refuel or recharge in flight.

“Remote recharging would be ideal, perhaps by some sort of directed-energy transmission” According to Cololnel John McCurdy, director for remotely piloted aircraft programmes at the Air Force Academy. The UAS will also require stealth, passive sensors, secure communication links and host of countermeasures.

 

DARPA’s Distributed Airborne Capabilities

Small UAS have limited range and responsiveness, however, compared to larger airborne platforms. In November 2014, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) request released request for information seeking information from industry on how to expand the operational envelopes of smaller UAS by using existing military aircraft to transport multiple small UAS into the theatre of operations and launch them while airborne.

“We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky’,” said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. “We envision innovative launch and recovery concepts for new UAS designs that would couple with recent advances in small payload design and collaborative technologies.”

 

DARPA’s “Gremlins” Could Enable Cheaper, More Effective, and Distributed Air Operations

DARPA has awarded Phase 1 contracts for Gremlins to four competing teams led by Composite Engineering, Inc., Dynetics, Inc., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corporation

Gremlins program, seeks to develop innovative technologies and systems enabling aircraft to launch volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned air systems (UASs) and safely and reliably retrieve them in mid-air.

An ability to send large numbers of small unmanned air systems (UAS) with coordinated, distributed capabilities could provide U.S. forces with improved operational flexibility at much lower cost than is possible with today’s expensive, all-in-one platforms—especially if those unmanned systems could be retrieved for reuse while airborne. So far, however, the technology to project volleys of low-cost, reusable systems over great distances and retrieve them in mid-air has remained out of reach.

The program also aims to prove that such systems, or “gremlins,” could provide significant cost advantages over expendable systems, spreading out payload and airframe costs over multiple uses (expected lifetime 20 uses) instead of just one.

The program envisions launching groups of gremlins from large aircraft such as bombers or transport aircraft, as well as from fighters and other small, fixed-wing platforms while those planes are out of range of adversary defenses. When the gremlins complete their mission, a C-130 transport aircraft would retrieve them in the air and carry them home, where ground crews would prepare them for their next use within 24 hours.

“Our goal is to conduct a compelling proof-of-concept flight demonstration that could employ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other modular, non-kinetic payloads in a robust, responsive and affordable manner,” said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager.

DARPA plans to focus primarily on the technical challenges associated with safe, reliable aerial launch and recovery of multiple unmanned air vehicles.

The Gremlins program plans to explore numerous technical areas, including:

  • Launch and recovery techniques, equipment and aircraft integration concepts
  • Low-cost, limited-life airframe designs
  • High-fidelity analysis, precision digital flight control, relative navigation and station keeping

Additionally, the program will address new operational capabilities and air operations architectures as well as the potential cost advantages.

 

References and resources also include:

 

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DARPA project takes flight in Medfield

November 28, 2016 by  

Requiring a small and lightweight drone to maneuver quickly through urban terrain may seem straightforward, but add the fact that no GPS or mapping features are used either, and you have yourself a challenge! So just how is the team behind SSCI’s Rapid ADVANCE program doing so far with it?

darpa-medfield

By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff

When one hears the words “Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency” (DARPA) and “military research,” one’s thoughts typically start revolving around the exotic, the clandestine, the fantastical. Neutron bombs exploding over desolate salt flats. Laser-wielding cyborgs running through specially-designed obstacle courses. Cold fusion engines powering aircraft as they take off from Area 51.

For his part, Hector Escobar, Senior Research Engineer at SSCI, could only smile. “The way we see it is that it’s more than that,” he said as a quadcopter drone took off nearby. Escobar had come to the Medfield State Hospital with Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) to test an autonomous drone as part of a DARPA program. “More than the military,” Escobar continued, “it’s for so many different applications. It feels good to know that we could actually make some progress in technology, not only thinking about military applications, but in general.”

“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,” reads a press release from SSCI.com, Scientific Systems Company’s website. “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.”

Simplified?

“What we basically want to do is have these drones fly autonomously in urban environments like this one. What a perfect environment, like an abandoned city, that we have here,” said Escobar, motioning at the terrain around him. “That’s why we’re actually using the Medfield State Hospital – so we can have actual buildings, actual roads, actual trees. We’re testing our algorithms here.

“The idea is that we have a start point and we have an end goal. We try to fly to it and back, and all autonomously.

“DARPA’s going to provide us a file that says ‘your target is five minutes this way and ten minutes this way,’ and that’s all we know. So then we have to traverse whatever environment they gave us and fly through it. That’s pretty much all we know – where we are and where is our end goal.”

In a nutshell, SSCI is developing a drone that can fly, completely on its own, to and from a given point, avoiding all obstacles on its way.

Oh yeah, and it can’t use GPS.

“The cool thing about this project is that it’s without GPS,” added Escobar. “We’re not using any GPS to navigate, so we’re doing everything visually using several algorithms that we developed.”

It also cannot map the terrain – all of the drone’s processing must be done on the fly.

“The idea of this program is also that it cannot use what is called SLAM, which is simultaneous localization and mapping,” said Escobar. “Most of the drones out there, the research in the universities, they’re doing basically a map. They start creating a map, so by the end of the run, they have a map of all the area.” Nearby, one of SSCI’s drones beeped – not unlike R2-D2 – as it prepared for an autonomous launch.

“We have shorter memory,” said Escobar. “We know where we are and where we’re going, and we can fly, avoiding all the obstacles. But on our way back, we’ll have to avoid them again because we are not [making a map]. That’s to make our algorithms faster and more cost-effective.”

Escobar excused himself to speak with his SSCI team – a crew of six men who had come out to test the fruits of their hours of coding. Grabbing one of the drones, they carried it to a nearby spot for its next run. A few moments later, the craft floated into the air, a pilot standing nearby only in case of emergency. The drone headed skywards, then made a bee-line for a distant spot on the State Hospital grounds. This was a live test, and it seemed to be going swimmingly as the drone’s programmers watched on proudly.

“It is very rewarding, I would say,” concluded Escobar “to see that you programmed something and then you can come out and try it.”

Air Force Lifecycle Management Center awards SSCI with two SBIR III contracts

January 15, 2016 by  

The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida has recently awarded two SBIR III contracts to SSCI for (1) advanced navigation technology demonstration on the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment I, and (2) advanced navigation common capability (ANCC) development.

For Immediate Release – January 13, 2016

Scientific Systems Co. Inc., Woburn, Massachusetts, has been awarded an $11,565,001 cost-plus-fixed-fee Small Business Innovation Research III contract for an advanced navigation system technology demonstration on Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment I. Contractor will flight test, demonstrate, and evaluate the technology readiness of an ImageNav-SDB advanced navigation system using the SDB Increment I. Work will be performed at Woburn, Massachusetts, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 13, 2018. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2015 and 2016 research and development funds in the amount of $11,565,001 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Rapid Acquisition Cell, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8656-16-C-0094).

http://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/642983

 

For Immediate Release – September 16, 2015

Scientific Systems Co. Inc., Woburn, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $6,600,242 firm-fixed-price Small Business Innovation Research III contract for advanced navigation common capability (ANCC). Contractor will expand upon ANCC previous work by generalizing the process of integrating the technology into weapon systems. Work will be performed at Woburn, Massachusetts, and is expected to be complete by Sept. 14, 2017. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2015 research and development funds in the amount of $6,600,242 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8656-15-C-0124).

http://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/617474

 

 

SSCI awarded NASA contracts for development and testing of advanced aerospace controls and UAV systems capabilities.

November 16, 2015 by  

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) announces the recent award of multiple NASA advanced technology development programs in flexible-wing controls for drag minimization, sense-and-avoid analysis tools, and automated rendezvous and docking.

For Immediate Release – November 16, 2015

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) announces it has been awarded new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for development and testing of advanced aerospace controls and unmanned aerial vehicle systems capabilities. Under the DIRECT (Drag Identification & Reduction Technology) program, SSCI is developing a performance-seeking control strategy for drag minimization for aircraft with flexible wings and innovative flight control surfaces. The approach will be tested in 2016 in a wind tunnel at the University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory.

Under the ASPECT (Automated System-level Performance Evaluation & Characterization Tool) program, SSCI is developing a versatile tool under which Sense and Avoid (SAA) systems can be effectively tested under realistic conditions encountered in the National Airspace System (NAS). The tool consists of fast-time simulation employing a model of typical NAS encounters, sensor fusion module fusing the visual and radar information in the absence of ADS-B, threat assessment module, and collision avoidance module. The tool can also be used to develop component and system-level requirements for SAA systems.

Under the GUARD (Generalized gUidance, Navigation & Control Architecture for Reusable Development) program, SSCI in collaboration with University of Washington, is developing reusable GNC software for diverse close proximity operation scenarios. Applications include autonomous rendezvous and docking for low-earth orbiting spacecraft; rover docking with a planetary habitat; and UAV performing a precise lifting operation. The docking application will be hardware tested at Olin College, while the flight tests for the UAV application will be carried out at University of Washington.

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.” These NASA programs are examples of SSCI’s focus on developing advanced aerospace and autonomy technologies to support hazardous and challenging missions.

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 NASA and US DoD agencies. SSCI is a provider of mission planning software, image-based navigation systems for GPS-denied operations, unmanned system’s autonomy, and developer of mine detection systems for the U.S. Army. For more information, contact SSCI at (781) 933-5355 or info@ssci.com.

SSCI leads industry-university team to develop UAV technology to assist in wildfire monitoring and management

October 26, 2015 by  

An industry-university team, comprising Scientific Systems Company, Inc., MIT and Olin College, demonstrates autonomous aerial monitoring and tracking capability for forest fires using multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

For Immediate Release – September 25, 2015

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) announces it has performed initial flight tests and demonstration of autonomous, multi-UAV aerial monitoring and tracking technologies, designed for real-time, aerial fire perimeter surveillance. Wildfire monitoring and management is a high-stress activity in which appropriate and timely decisions need to be made by the fire commander. Besides wind intensity and direction, terrain and vegetation, the key information needed for successful wildfire management is the fire location, its extent and rate of spread. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have great potential to facilitate fire monitoring by providing that information to the fire commander in real time.

IMPACTSSCI is leading an industry-university team to develop IMPACT  – Integrated Mission Planning and Autonomous Control Technology – which provides real-time information to the fire commander in wildfire fighting scenarios using autonomous collaborating UAVs. Under a NASA Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, the SSCI Team, with partners Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) and Olin College (Needham, MA), has developed ground station planning and control software, as well as onboard autonomy software for fully-coordinated multiple UAVs. SSCI and MIT have developed exciting new technologies to make this possible including: machine learning for prediction of the fire spread rate and autonomous collaborative algorithms for multi-UAV coordination, search, geo-location, closed-loop surveillance, and real-time fire perimeter tracking under contingencies.  Together, these technologies enable a single user to coordinate multiple UAVs to survey and maintain knowledge of the ever changing fire perimeter.  Olin College is providing the flight testing environment to validate these concepts.

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 IMPACT system is a prime example of SSCI’s focus on developing UAV autonomy technologies to support hazardous and challenging missions.

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 NASA and US 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 SSCI at (781) 933-5355 or info@ssci.com.

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

SSCI Awarded Contract from NAVAIR for Integration and Test of Autonomous Shipboard-Landing Optical System for Fire Scout MQ-8

October 26, 2015 by  

Coming off of successful flight tests with manned and unmanned aircraft such as the R-22 and Maverick VT-UAV, SSCI’s Image-based Relative Navigation for Shipboard Landing (ImageNav-SL) will have yet another chance to shine as it helps the MQ-8 meet accuracy requirements in visibility conditions similar to those required for manned helicopter operations.

For Immediate Release – September 25, 2015

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) has been awarded a NAVAIR contract to integrate and test an onboard, fully-autonomous, optically-based relative navigation system designed for integration into the US Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter (VT-UAV) shipboard auto-landing system.

INAV-SL-3

SSCI’s Image-based Relative Navigation for Shipboard Landing (ImageNav-SL) uses passive, optical (EO/IR) sensors to detect and analyze existing ship deck markings and provide Deck-Relative Navigation measurements. ImageNav-SL is designed to use low-power/low-weight, commercial cameras to meet MQ-8 accuracy requirements in visibility conditions similar to those required for manned helicopter operations. It requires no additional shipboard modifications or additional equipment. ImageNav-SL technology has been successfully flight-tested using manned R-22 and unmanned Maverick VT-UAV aircraft. Under this NAVAIR contract, ImageNav-SL technology will be integrated onto representative MQ-8 equipment, and flight-tested in at-sea trials to demonstrate shipboard landing capability.

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.” ImageNav-SL is a prime example of SSCI’s development of advanced capabilities for unmanned systems. Technology developed under this program is applicable to a wide range of unmanned systems by providing an autonomous landing capability without GPS or ground-based RF navigation aids.

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.

NAVAIR Public Release 2014-335 – Approved for public release; Distribution is unlimited.

 

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) Receives DARPA XDATA contract to research new Machine Learning & Big Data Technologies

November 15, 2012 by  

Administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory of Rome, NY, this new contract is part of a 4-year endeavor by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new technologies and computational methods for processing large amounts of data that can be analyzed and assessed for defense needs.

[Dateline]—SSCI, a leading developer and provider of Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics, AI & Intelligent Autonomy technologies, today announced receiving research funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new and advanced Machine Learning software based on Automated Bayesian Cross-Categorization (ABC) family of algorithms for heterogeneous structured and unstructured databases.  This contract is part of DARPA’s XDATA program, a 4-year research effort to develop new computational techniques and open source software tools for processing and analyzing data, motivated by defense needs.  SSCI has been selected by DARPA as a performer in the technical area of scalable analytics and data processing technology.  The contract is administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, NY.

Dr. Raman K. Mehra, CEO of SSCI remarked, “We are very excited and proud to be part of the DARPA’s XDATA program and look forward to collaborating with other awardees and developing open-source software for advanced Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics and Predictive Statistical Inference”.

SSCI’s team consists of senior researchers from MIT, U. of Louisville, and Prior Knowledge Inc.

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) pioneers products and technologies that provide the intelligence for unmanned ground, air and maritime vehicles to autonomously and collaboratively accomplish missions in difficult environments.  Our technologies are currently at work in the Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program and numerous other U.S. Department of Defense systems.

For more information on DARPA and the XDATA program, visit www.darpa.mil.

 

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