Automating Unmanned and Manned Sensor Performance in Demanding Tactical Environments
The US Navy uses manned and unmanned airborne platforms for ISR missions in challenging littoral environments with non-segregated airspace, restricted operating regions, and sensor occlusions, while tracking and classifying potentially hundreds of targets. In this Phase I effort, we propose to design an integrated planning tool for airborne ISR platforms that can generate vehicle routes and sensor schedules in real time that satisfy vehicle dynamic constraints, airspace constraints, and sensor constraints, while serving the ISR mission objectives with varying degrees of specificity, and maximizing on-station time. The route planner conducts a tree search over a parameterized maneuver space so paths are kinematically feasible. The search samples neighborhoods in the space and obtains bounds on the various constraints and information objectives to determine promising regions to explore. This approach permits the use of complicated dynamic constraints such as sensing geometry, aircraft avoidance, and fuel consumption. The sensor scheduler selects particular tasks and start times, refining the route as necessary to comply with sensor resource constraints and achieve the given information goals. Multiple plans are presented to the operator if goals are in conflict or several different solutions exist, allowing the operator to apply mission-level judgment in directing the platform.
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