Digital Sims Assist Design Drone Controls

One aspect of UAV design is the control system, and virtual simulations are being used to design drone control systems. Aviationtoday.com reported that this summer, Boeing conducted a digital simulation of an open autonomy architecture to have manned Navy aircraft control MQ-25A Stingray unmanned carrier-based tankers. Boeing virtually demonstrated how a Northrop Grumman [NOC] E-2D Advanced Hawkeye command and control aircraft, Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet fighters could task four virtual autonomous MQ-25s to conduct tanking and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Notably, the demonstration showed how aircraft can use the architecture to task MQ-25s for tanking and ISR missions “without traditional communications with the ship-based ground control station. …In the most recent tests, Boeing also highlighted that Aurora created and demonstrated a software boundary called a prototype platform abstraction layer that separates out the MQ-25’s flight safety and flight critical components from mission software and sensor hardware.” Photos courtesy of Boeing.

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