Researchers with the U.S. Army developed and demonstrated a method through which unmanned aircraft systems may autonomously land on unmanned ground vehicles. The team from Army Research Laboratory (ARL) aimed to demonstrate this landing approach without reliance on GPS systems, the Army said Tuesday.
“UAVs will need the ability to operate with no Soldier intervention, and a critical function is landing autonomously on static and moving ground vehicles, recharging, then taking off to perform new missions,” said Stephen Nogar, a researcher with ARL.
Nogar said GPS is easily disrupted, and therefore must not be relied on by unmanned aircraft.
The demonstration made use of low-cost sensors and computers, with no communication established between the custom-built rotary UAS and the Clearpath Warthog UGV. The ground vehicle had a fiducial marker that served as an identifier for the UAS to recognize.
Moving forward, the team will boost the landing's reliability and apply artificial intelligence that would allow the UAS to recognize the UGV without completely relying on the marker.