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Proceedings Paper

Layered autonomous overwatch: the necessity and feasability of multiple unmanned systems in combat support
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Paper Abstract

Unmanned systems simultaneously reduce risk and magnify the impact of soldier-operators. For example, in Afghanistan UAVs routinely provide overwatch to manned units while UGVs support IED identification and disposal roles. Expanding these roles requires greater autonomy with a coherent unmanned "system of systems" approach that leverages one platform's strengths against the weakness of another. Specific collaborative unmanned systems such as shared sensing, communication relay, and distributed computing to achieve greater autonomy are often presented as possible solutions. By surveying currently deployed systems, this paper shows that the spectrum of air and ground systems provide an important mixture of range, speed, payload, and endurance with significant implications on mission structure. Rather than proposing UxV teams collaborating towards specific autonomous capabilities, this paper proposes that basic physical and environmental constraints will drive tactics towards a layered, unmanned battlespace that provides force protection and reconnaissance in depth to a manned core.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6561, Unmanned Systems Technology IX, 65610U (2 May 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.720422
Show Author Affiliations
Simon Monckton, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)
Bruce Digney, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)
Greg Broten, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)
Steve Penzes, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6561:
Unmanned Systems Technology IX
Grant R. Gerhart; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker, Editor(s)

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