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Intelligently automating control tasks

Autonodyne is creating a comprehensive list of autonomous flight behaviors that can be used by a host of hardware options and operated by Autonodyne’s intelligent RCU-1000 control stations, autonomy engines, and mission computers. The behaviors are used to configure, plan and execute UxS missions. They control a wide range of autonomous, semi-autonomous, or highly automated vehicles (air, sea, and land). Autonodyne offers them as a set of “a la carte” choices or as pre-packaged sets of behaviors that are optimized for various use cases. For more information, see Autonomy technology in use.

Behaviors magnify functionality

Each behavior below can be individually and manually selected to populate a “task list” or “mission plan” for the vehicle or vehicles. The name of the behavior is the lexicon we use to both command the behavior and indicate to the human operator/supervisor what the vehicle or vehicles are doing. For example, a task list may be “Takeoff”, “Fly Over That” (to a designated waypoint), “Loiter” (hold at a designated location), “Observe” (a designated point of interest), “Inspect” (a designated item of interest), “RTB” (Return-To-Base). Aside from designating the waypoint and points of interest, the operator doesn’t need to do anything else to run the mission. And even the need to designate Fly Over That waypoints is not necessary if the autonomous path planning algorithm is also running.

We are now moving to a point where the software, through semantic reasoning, is starting to stitch together those behaviors automatically. The software is working to determine optimal courses of action (COA) and based on those COAs, suggests a sequence of behaviors. The operator can do nothing and let it run its course, manually approve the plan, or reject/modify the plan. We are building a capability where these software “agents” are creating a much more capable human-machine team.

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Vehicle control behaviors


Fly Over That

Exists now
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Waypoint Navigation – this command instructs the vehicle to proceed directly to a designated waypoint.


Loiter (Hold Over There)

Exists now
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Commands a vehicle to perform a loiter (e.g., circular, figure-8, racetrack, etc.) movement at a designated location with default/designated parameters (e.g. altitude, leg length, direction of turn, etc.)


Hover

Exists now
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Vertical Takeoff/Land (VTOL) air vehicles hover in-place with options to define the hover height and hover duration.


Freeze

Exists now
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Commands a fixed wing aircraft to enter a circular orbit, VTOL, uncrewed ground, and uncrewed maritime vehicles freeze in-place.


Follow It

Exists now
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Keeps a defined X-Y-Z offset from the designated “lead” vehicle.

Hold Current/
Commanded

Exists now
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Holds a commanded vehicle speed, heading, altitude indefinitely.


Return-To-Base (RTB)

Exists now
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Creates a specific 3D profile to return the vehicle to a designated recovery location.


Lasso

Exists now
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When selected, this behavior allows numerous entities to be instantly grouped into a formation or swarm. It handles alignment and deconfliction.


Deliver

Exists now
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Automatically computes a path for delivery of vehicle or supplies. It executes that path, performs a precision landing, and releases the payload.


Path Plan/“5Ds”

Exists now
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Computes a path around any known or sensed static or dynamic obstacles and continuously computes an optimal path. Works in real-time and in 2D and 3D. Uses spline interpolation to more accurately calculate optimal maneuvers and paths that reflect real-world vehicle turning dynamics. Takes cost functions into account to assist in “dodge, duck, dive, dart, and dodge” behaviors for obstacle avoidance.


Follow This Path

In progress
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When selected, traces a desired path on the 2D map for the desired vehicle(s) to ground track.


Funnel

Future development
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Considered a “standing” lasso, it funnels or necks vehicles down to a single point. Once vehicles have been directed into the funnel, sequencing and deconfliction are automatically handled, even for heterogeneous vehicles, down to the target point (typically a landing area).


Stare At That

Future development
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The uncrewed vehicle follows a path that keeps its sensors aligned on the point-of-interest (POI). If the sensor is gimballed, the orientation of the vehicle is irrelevant.


Point At That

Future development
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The uncrewed vehicle maneuvers as required to continually point at the designated point of interest.

Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance (ISR) behaviors


Light It Up

Exists now
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A form of sensor-based navigation for vehicles equipped with sensors optimized for certain conditions (e.g., detection of a specific type of RF emitter). When a sensor gets “a hit”, the vehicle automatically repositions itself to achieve the ideal geometry so the sensor can precisely determine the location of the item of interest.


Follow Me/Tether

Exists now
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Principally intended for sUAS and overwatch mode. The sUAS will follow a designated POI (for example, you) at a specified X/Y/Z offset.


Observe

Exists now
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Trains sensors on a designated point or area of interest and maintains that observation state for as long as feasible.


Surveil

Exists now
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Intelligently divides the selected geographic area into the most appropriate surveillance patterns based on the vehicles tasked, their fuel/energy states, and the sensors they have onboard.


Track

In progress
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This uses either the inherent target track capability of the vehicle under control (e.g., Raytheon Coyote) or our own on-board image processing/identification/ tracking capability. The vehicle will move as needed to retain the lock on the target of interest.


Sentinel

In progress
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When the tripwire of external or onboard sensors are activated, the vehicle(s) launches and provides perimeter defense/monitoring capability. Until the virtual tripwire is triggered, the UAS is on the ground in watching/listening mode, almost indefinitely.


Perch

In progress
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Intended for a small UAS (sUAS) to direct it to a perch location and observe.


Monitor

Future development
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Slightly different than Observe or Surveil. Whereas Observe can draw conclusions from viewing the scene, Monitor is a non-attribution behavior. For example, Monitor may count all vehicles passing over a bridge but it is not storing any parameters or attributes about those vehicles.


Document

Future development
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Used an aid to post-mishap investigation efforts by documenting an accident or crime scene.


Envelop

Future development
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After assets are selected and a point-of-interest (POI) is identified, they all take up observation positions around the POI. If 3 vehicles are involved, they take a 120-degree spread offset a distance away from the POI. If 36 vehicles, they take a 10-degree spread.


Comm Relay

Future development
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Places the vehicle into an appropriate loiter or path to serve as a communications relay. It automatically computes the appropriate position and altitude to maintain line-of-sight comm connections.

Offensive behaviors


Impact

In progress
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Drives the vehicle directly into the designated point of interest. This is a less sophisticated version of Strike.


OCA

In progress
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Capable of performing Offensive Counter Air roles. This behavior actually has a number of subset behaviors which initially appear as a series of “plays”. This is first being employed as a set of adversary air training tools.


Strike

Future development
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Orchestrates a kinetic strike. Programs vehicle to loiter around a target area for a given time, search for targets, and attack one of them once it is located.


Target Grid

Future development
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Generates Category 1 target grid coordinates for designated points-of-interest (POIs).


Distract

Future development
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Creates a series of highly visible maneuvers by the vehicle(s) under control that are meant to be attention-grabbing in an effort to distract others in the vicinity.

Self-defensive behaviors


Defend/Stack

Exists now
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Similar to DCA, this behavior defends “the queen”. It is largely a means to put a group of vehicles into a desired physical configuration (e.g., a wall between a high-value asset and perceived threats, a 360° coverage shield around a high-value asset, etc.)


DCA

In progress
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Capable of performing defensive Counter Air roles. This behavior actually has a number of subset behaviors which initially appear as a series of “plays”. This is first being employed as a set of adversary air training tools.

Greased Pig/
Dither

Future development
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Preemptively generates a random series of quick movements as a means of self-protection against counter-UV threats. Think of constant jinking that makes the vehicle tough to target and hit.


Decoy

Future development
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Intentionally maneuvers vehicles in a pattern or manner that would be confusing to an observer. It enables them to be mistaken as a different platform or performing a different role.


Aerial refueling

Future development
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When low fuel vehicles are designated, the system will navigate them to the refueling vehicle and sequence them for refueling.

Hive/Swarm behaviors


Inspect

Exists now
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After designating a structure to be inspected, this behavior computes an ideal 3D geometry that takes vehicle performance and sensor type/capability into account to compute and command that inspection pattern.


Marsupial

Exists now
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At least one vehicle carries another on its back and releases then recovers that vehicle. The behavior is a force multiplier and can be used with ground-to-air vehicles or air-to-air vehicles. Our typical use is to have a ground rover carry a UAS to a specific spot and launch it.


Morphing Swarm

In progress
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Changes the relative positioning of a swarm of UAS to deal with known and sensed geographic or volumetric constraints. The number of swarm members can be reduced or increased.


Rejoin

In progress
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The software is constantly computing an optimal rejoin path to a moving ground or air target.


Stage

Future development
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A staging area is defined by a swoop of your fingers or mouse. Any vehicle directed into the staging area will remain in the "staging loiter" state until commanded out of it, or until low fuel or energy requires its departure. Sequencing and deconfliction are handled by the behavior.


Sacrifice

Future development
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Will use pure pursuit and intentionally generate a sacrificial path to impact a designated item or vehicle of interest.


Learner/Sharer

Future development
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Principally useful in swarm/hive operations when a few scouts are sent out to survey or map an area, return to the swarm/hive (or just communicate back) and share what was learned.


Mimic Me

Future development
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Target air vehicle mimics the actions of a “master” vehicle in pitch, roll, course, and speed.


Spawn

Future development
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Typically an air vehicle behavior where the “mothership” air vehicle can release other air vehicles to perform other missions.