WASHINGTON, 11 Oct. 2012. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has selected an industry team led by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] to explore advanced autonomous technologies aboard an unmanned vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The ONR awarded the team a $13.5 million contract. This contract is for an 18-month phase, where the team will demonstrate the capabilities of its open-architecture planning and trajectory intelligence for managing unmanned systems (OPTIMUS) architecture.
Under the contract, Lockheed Martin and a team of industry, government, and academic partners will develop a technology that will enable aircraft to operate under supervisory control. A human operator will interact with the system at a high level while low level control is left to the automation.
The resulting technology is meant to improve the utility and effectiveness of current unmanned vertical take-off and landing aircraft, as well as offer pilots supplemental decision aids on legacy manned platforms.
OPTIMUS is designed to be platform-agnostic, drawing from the team's experience with the unmanned K-MAX cargo resupply program and its expertise in the fields of sensing, autonomy and human-machine interaction.