The recent successes of the uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) in U.S. armed forces missions raise the possibility for increased and increasingly diverse roles for UAVs in future operations: reconnaissance, surveillance, tracking, cooperative search and attack, relay communications, target identification, navigational guidance, and more.
Advancements in technology and computing power also widen the potential applications of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs), and much research within the scientific, commercial and government communities has focused on UAV technologies and the use of UAVs for high-level strategic missions, including the real time intelligent planning and execution of complex operations. This research, however, while focusing on algorithms for the cooperative control of a group of entities (e.g., UAVs), has not addressed the integration of command and control capabilities for a group of entities or taken advantage of advancements in communication technologies. With this gap in mind, KBSI’s C-CAGO project designed, developed, and validated a Command and Control module for Active Intra-group Cooperation (C-CAGO) of expendable UAVs.
Implementing autonomous Command and Control (C&C) for a group of UAVs that also enables cooperative behavior within the group requires sophisticated algorithms for distributive computing and extensive intra-group communication. Note that UAVs also act like sensors, and one of the important functions of the UAVs is to gather information by collecting sensor data. This data must then be processed for various uses including real time tactical decision-making, mission planning, and mission execution. Both the sensor data transmission and the C&C module for the UAVs requires a reliable wireless communication network that must be shared between the two functions, thus further limiting an already constrained bandwidth capability.
As a consequence, the major objective of the C-CAGO module is to facilitate the robust tactical performance of the group despite the limited bandwidth constraint. The C-CAGO module addresses the dual issue of communication network design and the application of command and control algorithms to achieve seamless operation between command and control while minimizing the burden on the available bandwidth.