Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), and Hydronalix, Inc. of Green Valley, AZ, signed a Research and Development Collaboration Agreement (CRADA) entitled AISUM Prize Challenge Hardware Support. Agreement number: NCRADA-NSWCCD-21-419. NSWC Crane is hosting an Artificial Intelligence for Small Unit Maneuver (AISUM) Prize Challenge with participants from industry and science. With the strategic goals of developing software that can be supported by a wide variety of hardware, a non-proprietary basic component architecture and software were required for robot autonomy. This collaboration is intended to meet the need for a development platform prototype to demonstrate AI algorithms to support small unit maneuver and counter-UAS autonomy research. The new ADAPT UAS Hydronalix platform will be built or modified to support the hardware requirements necessary to demonstrate the goals of algorithm development of indoor navigation, mapping and object recognition in a representative competitive environment. The new ADAPT UAS will provide competitors with a stable flying aircraft with no GPS and be able to hold a position with the C2 link lost, which also has a sense and compute payload that is necessary for open source development and testing Algorithms can be used. The development of algorithms (provided by AISUM participants) will be dedicated to artificial intelligence, navigation, object recognition and mapping of enclosed spaces. The new ADAPT drone to be used in the project was approved for ship-to-land with the USMC 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization (LEON) in the EUCOM USN 6th Fleet Baltic Operations Exercise in June 2021 – Resupply missions operated. The UAS was developed by Hydronalix under an SBIR Phase I and II program funded by ONR and administered by NAVSEA.

Anthony Mulligan, CEO of Hydronalix, said, “We are excited to enter this CRADA with NSWC Crane as it will help us keep our single-use UAS drone technology up to date to protect the war fighter from danger. We look forward to working closely with the NSWC Crane scientist and leading UAS research teams from across the country. ”“ Hydronalix has demonstrated successful quality control in their adaptive manufacturing process, competitive product prices and the ability to produce high quality and open-ended sUAS components Obtain architecture from other US manufacturers, ”said Blake Busey, NSWC Crane’s hardware director for the project. “NSWC Crane is excited to partner with Hydronalix and leverage their manufacturing and integration skills to support a joint demonstrator platform for the AISUM Prize Challenge.”

NSWC Crane is responsible for providing design requirements and all key performance parameters, as well as receiving equipment and testing with the beta team. NSWC Crane will also oversee the flight safety and operation of aircraft prior to adopting the algorithm and security override as needed and coordinating between Hydronalix and the AISUM Prize Challenge participants as needed. Hydronalix is ​​responsible for integrating Sense and Computing payloads that meet SWAP and other requirements on a quantity of no less than 12 units, integrating in-flight security measures, and providing training or instructional materials for the safe operation of aircraft. Together, NSWC Crane and Hydronalix will be responsible for working together on new techniques and processes, presenting, publishing and searching for joint intellectual property, and design optimization, testing and coordination. The program runs until June 2022.

Photo courtesy of Hydronalix