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On 15 January Persistent Systems LLC (Persistent), a New York-based global communications technology company, announced the creation of an industry alliance of unmanned systems and sensor companies. To be known as the Wave Relay Ecosystem and based around Persistent’s patented Wave Relay mobile ad-hoc network (MANET), the alliance aims to deliver a truly networked battlefield to combat troops on the front line.

Ecosystem partners are building products that seamlessly operate on the Wave Relay MANET, allowing combat troops to carry less equipment and do more through connected devices on a single, unified network.

In the past, unmanned systems were stove-piped with unique datalinks, modems and controllers, which soldiers had to carry and operate. This created unnecessary burden and complexity, limiting the information flow from the unmanned system solely to the system operator. By integrating all of these systems onto a common network, the information produced by the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) can be exploited by anyone on the team. This is essentially the definition of a ‘capability multiplier.’

The needs of the warfighter are at the centre of the Wave Relay Ecosystem, and furthermore the networked battlefield,” commented Persistent’s Vice President of Business Development, Nick Naioti. “Our product portfolio heavily focuses on reducing SWaP [size, weight and power consumption] and lowering the burden on the warfighter, so they can focus on the mission at hand. The Ecosystem furthers that effort by reducing information overload, enabling the systems and sensors to talk to each other on a common network. This creates a foundation to support machine-to-machine communication where data can be fused into actionable intelligence.”

Industry leaders have come together to meet the long-standing need to have people, unmanned systems and sensors operating on a common battlefield network. All products available in the Ecosystem operate on the Wave Relay MANET, the only network that has been demonstrated to scale beyond 320 nodes.

The Wave Relay Ecosystem currently has six formally announced partners: Endeavour Robotics and QinetiQ North America (UGVs); Boeing/Insitu, MartinUAV and Raytheon (UAVs); and LGS Innovations (sensors). Partners receive strong support from Persistent to ensure proper integration, as well as programmatic support in pursuit of government programmes of record.

The Wave Relay Ecosystem is a massive initiative at Persistent, supported by internal funding and organisational structure. People come to work every day to ensure that our Ecosystem partners are successful. We are working diligently with the leading manufacturers of unmanned systems and sensors to create the future,” observed Persistent’s CEO, Dr Herbert Rubens.

The Ecosystem facilitates the needs of the future-friendly networked battlefield, where everyone and everything operates on the same network. Teams have access to every platform’s capabilities through the integrated Android computer available on every Wave Relay-enabled device, providing users with the option to drive any UGV, fly any UAV, steer any camera and operate any sensor from a single device.

An integrated, coherent, capable and competent system of data and device communication and interaction is what the Wave Relay Ecosystem promises. (Image: Persistent Systems)

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