General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), with the support of SRC, has successfully integrated and flown the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) AGILE CONDOR pod on an MQ-9 UAS at GA-ASI’s Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, ND, the company announced on 3 September.
The AGILE CONDOR pod provides on-board high-speed computer processing coupled with machine learning algorithms to detect, correlate, identify and track targets of interest. With this capability, the MQ-9 is able to identify objects autonomously, using its on-board EO/IR sensor and the company’s LYNX synthetic aperture radar.
“Computing-at-the-edge has tremendous implications for future unmanned systems,” commented GA-ASI President, David R Alexander. “GA-ASI is committed to expanding artificial intelligence capabilities on unmanned systems and the AGILE CONDOR capability is proof positive that we can accurately and effectively shorten the observe, orient, decide and act cycle to achieve information superiority.”
High-powered computing-at-the-edge enables autonomous target detection, identification and nomination at extended ranges, while on-board processing reduces communication bandwidth requirements to share target information with other platforms. This is an important step towards greater automation, autonomous target detection and rapid decision-making. GA-ASI will continue to work with AFRL to refine the capability and foster its transition to operational constructs that will improve the ability to operate in contested or denied environments.