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The operation of multiple autonomous systems simultaneously on a mission requires advanced control systems. A new system that can be used to take command and control of autonomous fleets will be demonstrated next year by a western intelligence alliance.
Five Eyes intelligence representatives will converge on the NSW south coast in Australia in November 2018. Five Eyes is a signals intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The demonstration will include increased platform autonomy, autonomous cross-domain (air, sea, and land) cueing and tasking
It is understood that military subject matter experts from Australian, British and US air forces have already conducted trials of a US-developed “human-machine command and control system”. However, it appears a more advanced version of the system is set to be demonstrated for Five Eyes members next year, according to itnews.com.aus.
“The human-machine command and control system … allows a team oversight control of a large number of unmanned vehicles across multiple environmental domains,” defense administration revealed.
According to a new report on the program, research has been divided into four pillars.
Part of the program is about making sure humans are able to effectively work alongside autonomous machines in “uncertain” environments.
This includes how the machine – and its software – is able to establish “trust” with humans that are in close proximity “to make or recommend life or death decisions”. Other research looks at how the machine copes if it is interrupted.
Further research aims to “establish a credible Australian swarm robotics/capability program” that could be applied in the operation of fixed-wing UAVs, as well as improve the ability of autonomous vehicles to perceive and adjust to changes in terrain or other operating conditions.
The demonstration is being conducted under the auspices of Program Tyche, a multi-year strategic research initiative overseen by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.
Tyche’s aim is to place Australia in the top five creators worldwide of trusted autonomous systems (TAS).
The program is expected to be transitioned into a Defence-led cooperative research center (CRC) sometime this year. Australia’s Defence Minister Christopher Pyne announced last month that the CRC would receive $8 million annually out of the $730 million next generation technologies fund announced earlier this year.
See more about autonomous cooperation and coordination.