MERRIMACK, N.H. --- Squad X prime contractor Lockheed Martin has awarded BAE Systems a contract to provide key autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities that aim to advance the effectiveness of tactical robotic air and ground vehicles and create true partnerships between ground warfighters – Soldiers and Marines – and machines at the small-unit level.
The goal of DARPA’s Squad X, which is composed of the complementary Squad X Experimentation and (the now completed) Squad X Core Technologies programs, is to design, develop, and validate autonomous system prototypes and equip them with novel sensing tools and off-the-shelf technologies. The technologies aim to increase squads’ situational awareness, while the autonomous systems allow squads to increase their battlespace and area of influence.
BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development organization will provide Mission Intelligence for Tactical Systems (MITS) advanced sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, and autonomy. MITS is highly automated and directs mobile robots and their sensor payloads while reducing the cognitive load on its partner warfighters.
MITS fuses sensor data, constructs and shares battlefield awareness with its human squad-mates, and provides tactical electronic and kinetic support to the squad as it maneuvers and engages enemy positions. MITS-synthesized awareness informs human decision making in complex, time-critical combat situations, and directs continuous autonomous robotic tasking.
“Autonomy technology – be it in the air, space, sea, or ground domain – is all about making better decisions faster to allow our warfighters to more effectively execute their missions as safely as possible,” said Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group at BAE Systems. “We look forward to the prospects of providing this advantage to those in the field.”
The $3.5 million Squad X award builds on BAE Systems’ autonomy portfolio and 20-year history pioneering autonomy technology. Work on the Squad X program is being performed at the company’s facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia.