Coordinated Autonomous UAVs: Applications for a Heterogeneous Urban RSTA Team
To maintain superiority in the drastically changing course of modern warfare, the US armed forces need to be able to dominate the urban battlespace, with flexibility to conduct military operations against unconventional foes. The key to effective urban operations is an in-depth understanding of the population, forces and urban infrastructure at multiple levels of abstraction, including the physical, political, socio-economical, and psychological environments. Approaches that can successfully and effectively present the urban situation to warfighters are required. The Heterogeneous Urban RSTA -Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition - Team (HURT) is one program that aims to provide this critical state information to the warfighter by coordinating a diverse group of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) to observe the battlespace, update digital maps, and annotate recorded activity. Command and Control (C2) systems integral to the HURT system architecture provide autonomous task prioritization and coordination of unmanned resources. The end user only needs to make a request for video or imagery, which is then acquired and provided automatically for any specified time range, past or future. Not only will the warfighter have access to more information, but he will no longer be required to constantly monitor and manually control small UAVs to gain battlefield awareness. This high-level of autonomy affords the dismounted warfighter an option to focus on other mission priorities. HURT offers a portable real-time information service, backed by a net-centric architecture that exploits ontological representation to task a set of small UAVs with diverse attributes and control dynamics.