DARPA seeks to enable machine autonomy for safety-critical aircraft applications

U.S. military researchers are kicking off a project to improve machine autonomy technology sufficiently to enable its use in safety-critical applications such as unmanned autonomous aircraft operating together with passenger planes in controlled airspace.

Aug 1st, 2017
1708mae Uv Machine Autonomy

ARLINGTON, Va. - U.S. military researchers are kicking off a project to improve machine autonomy technology sufficiently to enable its use in safety-critical applications such as unmanned autonomous aircraft operating together with passenger planes in controlled airspace.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., briefed industry earlier this month on the upcoming Assured Autonomy project (DARPA-SN-17-62).

DARPA is developing technology to enable unmanned aircraft to operate with manned passenger planes in controlled airspace.

Autonomous systems increasingly are critical to the military, and researchers have made tremendous advances in the last decade - particularly for unmanned vehicles that operate in the air, on the ground, and in the ocean.

Enabling these advances in machine autonomy have been innovations in sensor and actuator technologies; computing technologies; control theory; design methods and tools; and modeling and simulation technologies. Despite these advances, however, adoption of such systems in safety-critical Department of Defense applications remains challenging and controversial. Designing in reliability to ensure trust is key to widespread use of machine autonomy.

The upcoming DARPA Assured Autonomy project seeks to assure that systems will operate safely and perform as expected, which will promote trust in machine autonomy and speed its adoption. The goal of the Assured Autonomy program is to develop rigorous design and analysis technologies to guarantee safety of autonomous machines that can learn on their own, based on experience.

This project will center on military autonomous vehicles. It will produce a set of publicly available software tools for use in commercial and defense sectors. DARPA seeks innovative techniques that render the learning algorithms inherently safe by incorporating safety constraints in the learning process, while meeting learning objectives.

E-mail questions or concerns to DARPA at AssuredAutonomy@darpa.mil.

More information is online at www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-SN-17-62/listing.html.

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