Publication

Robotic Systems (RS)
2010

ROBOTIC WINGMAN

by Jerry Lane; Frank Antenori; Andrew Dallas

Abstract

Robotic Wingman (RW) is an advanced unmanned systems concept integrated with current operational tactics to enhance the force effectiveness of combat vehicle platoon and substantially enhance the survivability of manned vehicles in combat operations. Two approaches to RW; reconfiguring common fleet and new/unique platoon vehicles. Each approach has its advantages in wingman operations. This paper will discuss the approaches, the required technologies and program implementations. RW combat effectiveness and advances in force survivability will be assessed and discussed in both approaches. Advanced technology including sensors, autonomy, communications and automated behaviors will enable the RW to look, move, and act like companion manned vehicle. For its optimum effectiveness, the RW wants to cause the enemy to engage it first. The automation of the manned fleet to implement and achieve unmanned system performance similar to manned operations and is required to fool the enemy to not let it pass without intervention/engagement. New hardware and software technologies are required to create the normal, manned-like operations of the RW system and its supporting unit. Inherent advantages of unmanned systems will enable RW configurations to survive multiple hits, perform degraded operations and effectively execute decoy tasks. For effective RW operation, including automation of fire control, target acquisition, armament (including autoloaders), and advanced mobility sensors are needed to perform with man-like agility and mission performance. To be useful, the RW cannot add significant workload to its command tank, otherwise platoon effectiveness will be negatively impacted. The RW must exhibit tactical behaviors such as formation control and automated unit behaviors if its command vehicle is hit. The RW must operate on high level commands and integrate advanced robotic controls to see, understand and autonomously negotiate mobility hazards, pedestrians, and vegetation. Supervised Autonomy is a critical technological component that alleviates operator workload. We will discuss progress made in the areas of Universal Autonomous Controllers (UAC) and autonomous behavior development in support of Supervised Autonomy. The focus of recent research will be discussed including developments and design of a technical approach for translating mission level objectives into a representation that can be communicated to the platform for use in its decision cycle. The paper will also address advanced technologies needed too make RW a battlefield capability including SAIC’s advanced robotic controls and command & control capabilities with collaborative unmanned systems behaviors; Raytheon with its advanced sensor suites, target acquisition and fire control technology; and SoarTech with advanced autonomous behaviors, team formation and supervisory control knowledge.