MLF - Military Logistics

ONR details latest AACUS demonstration

19th December 2017 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has carried out a final helicopter flight demonstration with autonomous capability at Marine Corps Base Quantico as part of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) programme.

AACUS is an autonomy kit that can be installed on any rotary-wing platform to provide it with autonomous capability. The technology is being developed with the goal of enabling the US Marine Corps to rapidly resupply forces on the front lines while minimising dangerous ground convoy resupply missions.

The system consists of a sensor and software package that can be integrated into any manned or unmanned rotary-wing aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles such as telephone wires, other vehicles or large ground objects in unfavourable weather conditions, or to facilitate autonomous, unmanned flight.

The system can be used by an operator with minimal training; supplies needed can be called up and flights ordered using an intuitive handheld tablet.

To demonstrate the capability, a marine with no prior experience with the technology was given a handheld device and 15 minutes of training. The marine was able to quickly and easily programme in the supplies needed and the destination. The UH-1 Huey helicopter autonomously selected an alternative landing site based on last-second no-fly-zone information added in from the marine.

According to the ONR, AACUS represents a leap-ahead technology for the marine corps and navy, moving unmanned flights far beyond the current standard, which requires a specialised operator to select a landing site and manually control an unmanned aircraft via remote.

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