Pentagon Seeks One Remote for Multiple Unmanned Platforms
The US Department of Defense has selected Auterion Government Solutions as one of six companies to develop a single controller for multiple types of robotic platforms.
The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit has chosen Auterion’s handheld controller, Skynav, for the Soldier Robotic Controller program, seeking to “reduce operator workload” and demonstrate “seamless integration” with soldiers’ equipment.
The program allows three controller configurations: wearable, handheld, and mounted for air and ground-based unmanned platforms. One company from each category will reportedly be selected by October 2022.
According to the California-based drone-maker, the Skynav is interoperable and can control a range of small unmanned aerial platforms such as “quad, multi-rotor, VTOL [vertical take-off and landing], and fixed wing, all from the same unit.”
National Defense Magazine wrote, citing Auterion Government Solutions CEO David Sharpin, that the Pentagon currently looks for each contractor to build their own device, which is inefficient and costly. “They have to train people on different systems. They have to basically pay for this again and again and again, and they want to have their own control,” he said.
“The ability to control and extract data from multiple types of air and ground systems using a flexible and scalable hardware platform coupled with a standard, government sponsored software platform is a critical element for current and future autonomous system development and deployment,” the CEO wrote in the company’s statement.